Playhouse

1337

Discovery of mineral springs in 1718 turned a market town into a Spa. The Montpellier Baths opened in 1806 and was an extensive establishment for its time. As now seen, it is a classical building with three Doric entrances.

The Corporation purchased the baths in 1898. Changes then made included a swimming pool, but its popularity waned and in 1945 the building was converted to a theatre for amateur use.

The floor of the auditorium was built over the swimming pool, originally as a flat floor venue, the seats not being fixed. More recently the auditorium has been raked and seating reduced from 300 to 228. Part of the former swimming pool provides the orchestra pit and the remainder is used for storage. The old reception lounge of the baths, with its stained glass windows remains in use as the theatre lounge. The stage has 14 hemp lines. There are five dressing rooms, and a quick change room, the largest dressing room doubling as a green room.

The adaptation of two adjacent cottages provided a large workshop area. The are now five rehearsal rooms of varying sizes, two wardrobes and stores for lighting equipment and curtains.

Built / Converted
1945
Dates of use
  • 1945 : continuing
Current state
Extant
Current use
Theatre (Amateur theatre)
Address
Bath Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 7HG, England
Website-
Further details
Other names
Civic
Events
  • 1806 Design/Construction: as baths
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1945 Use: continuing
  • 1945 Alteration: converted to theatre
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1945 - 1957 Owner/Management: Cheltenham Corporation
  • 1958 Owner/Management: Cheltenham Theatre and Arts Club
Capacities
  • Capacity
    Original
    Description
    300
  • Capacity
    Later
    Description
    1946: 300
  • Capacity
    Current
    Description
    228
Listings
  • Listing
    II
Stage type
Rake, proscenium
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth: 12ft
Proscenium width: 22ft
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -