Mid Sussex theatre to be refurbished

The famous Hurstpierpoint Players Theatre, due for a facelift
The famous Hurstpierpoint Players Theatre, due for a facelift

Drama enthusiasts are rallying round to ensure a village theatre can be refurbished and seat patrons in comfort and warmth.

Hurstpierpoint Players Theatre in the High Street was once a grocery store.

AmDram group the Hurstpierpoint Players bought the building in 1976 and transformed it into a theatre.

It went from strength to strength and now attracts patrons from around Sussex who come for three major dramas a year plus the annual pantomime, which gets booked as soon as dates are announced.

Richard Coney said: “As a fundraising group we went ahead and have now secured about 95 per cent of the money we need, although some of that was borrowed from generous patrons and we must pay it back.

“We’d love to receive donations – no matter how small – from anyone who wants to see local dramatic talent thrive, or who just enjoys a good evening out.”

Richard said the theatre will now close in October, after the end of the Hurstpierpoint Festival, so work can start.

The group hopes it will be completed in time for their Christmas panto, but if not, then the panto will be performed some time in January.

He described what is to be done. “A lot of work has been completed over the years but there is more to do,” he said.

“During the winter – particularly at panto season – it’s simply freezing! We have very old fashioned electric fan heaters and of course we can’t run them during performances as they’re too noisy.

“We want to install a better heating system - we’d have liked a much more sophisticated one than the simple electrical system we’ll have, but we didn’t have the £50,000 it would have cost.

“We will also, of course, reline and insulate walls to keep the heat in.

“Our seating is quite ancient and tatty. It came from Glyndebourne Opera House but it has seen better days and we need to replace it, and improve flooring so there is a better rake.

“The seats will come in November, we hope, and once that’s done we can put the theatre back together.”

If any local businesses or individuals would like to get involved, email richard.coney2@googlemail.com