Plaza Theatre

582

The Plaza opened in 1931 as a cinema. In the 1970s cinema use ceased and it became a bingo hall, until finally closing in the early 1980s. The Romsey Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (RAODS) was established in 1934, performing at the Town Hall and later the Crosfield Hall. Surviving for many years by using a member's barn for storage of costumes and props, by the early 1980s the Society were looking for a permanent home. In 1982 RAODS acquired the freehold of the Plaza and began converting it to theatre, officially opening January 1984 with Jack and the Beanstalk. The 1930s Art Deco feel has been maintained throughout, from the clean lines of the white facade, through the simple foyer spaces and into the auditorium itself. The cinema had seated 400 in stalls and balcony. The conversion to theatre raised the stage and auditorium floor to give 246 seats in a continuous rake, with space below for dressing rooms and the Green Room coffee lounge. The old projection room became the lighting and sound control room, and a scene dock and stage door were added at the rear of the building. Improvements to the building and its facilities have been made as funds permit - including surfacing the car park, and a purpose-built workshop in 1989; installation of disabled facilities in the early 1990s, with provision for wheelchairs reducing the capacity to 231 (217 if seats are removed to create an orchestra pit); a new roof in 1997 provided the opportunity for air handling plant to be installed - and true air conditioning finally followed in 2005. In 2009 the Green Room was refurbished to create a studio theatre.

Built / Converted
1984
Dates of use
  • 1984 : continuing
Current state
Extant
Current use
Theatre (amateur owned and operated)
Address
Winchester Road, Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 8AA, England
Further details
Other names
previously Plaza Cinema
Events
  • 1931 Design/Construction: as a cinema.
  • 1968 Alteration: converted for bingo.
  • 1982 Owner/Management: Romsey Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society (RAODS), owners.
  • 1982 - 1984 Design/Construction: converted to theatre use by local dramatic society.
  • 1984 Use: continuing
  • 1993 Alteration: workshop constructed for scenery
  • 1997 Alteration: new roof and air handling.
  • 2005 Alteration: air conditioning in auditorium.
Capacities
  • Capacity
    Original
    Description
    246
  • Capacity
    Current
    Description
    231
Listings
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Proscenium flat
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth: 6.2m Width SL: 5.8m SR: 5.8m
Proscenium width: 7.6m x 11.6m
Height to grid: 11.6m
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: None