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Leatherhead Theatre (ii)


The striking brick and stone 1930s cinema façade, now seen best at first floor level, is by Richardson, Gill & Starkey. The Crescent, built on the site of the Manor House in 1939, was a purpose-built cinema, but had stage use throughout, including in 1941, when it became the HQ of the fire service. In 1969, it was internally gutted to build the Thorndike Theatre and Casson studio, by Roderick Ham. The entrance leads through a narrow passage to the box office and spacious foyers which lend themselves to exhibition space, and are well-used. The auditorium, which is warm and intimate, is brick-lined and has a fan of 530 raked seats with side aisles. The theatre was built to continue the Leatherhead Theatre in quarters larger than the little High Street Theatre (ex Victoria Hall). It is well-equipped with dressing rooms, green room and band room. In 1999, having fallen out of use, the theatre was threatened with demolition. The building is now listed and rightly recognised as one of the best and most influential theatre designs of its time.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
Current state
Current use
Theatre (Theatre, cinema and worship)
Church Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, England
Further details
Other names
Thorndike , Crescent Cinema
  • Owner/Management: Hague Investments Limited, freeholder, continuing
  • 1939 Design/Construction: C Lovatt Gill & A P Starkey, as a cinema
    A E Richardson
    - Architect
  • 1939 Owner/Management: Crescent Cinema (Leatherhead) Ltd, owners
  • 1969 Alteration: with Ronald Bayliss, David Hancock and Colin Bex, converted to theatre
    Roderick Ham
    - Architect
  • 1969 Design/Construction:
  • 1969 Owner/Management: Leatherhead Theatre, lessees
  • 2001 Alteration:
    Design Alliance (Chris Bourne)
    - Architect
  • 2001 Owner/Management: Leatherhead Revival Trust, lessee, continuing (previously called Pioneer People Trust until 2005)
  • Capacity
    1939: 1282
  • Capacity
    1969: 526
  • Capacity
  • Listing
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth 1969: 16ft; 1992: 9m
Proscenium width: 1969: 36 ft; 1992: 11.10m
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: Original until 1969