For immediate release 19th January 2021
CHESIL THEATRE’S EXTENSION PLANS GET THE GO AHEAD
Winchester Dramatic Society, performing as Chesil Theatre, is delighted to announce that plans for a much-needed annexe to their historic premises in Chesil Street have been given the green light, in conjunction with neighbouring landowners, St John’s Winchester.
Contracts have now been exchanged between these two well-known and well-established Winchester charities for the Society’s purchase of a freehold parcel of land adjoining the Chesil Theatre, allowing their development scheme to go ahead.
Trustee David Small said: “The Society established the Chesil Theatre in 1966, though we have been entertaining the people of Winchester since 1863. In addition to our annual programme of six main productions, we have increased our activities with sessions for two youth groups, drama workshops and training, student performances and regular use of our intimate auditorium for small-scale professional productions. However, over the years our building has begun to bulge at the seams, putting pressure on our ability to carry out all the arts-related objectives we’d like.
“Working alongside St John’s, it is now possible for us to create a new annexe. This will provide disabled amenities, adequate dressing room facilities, a new foyer/rehearsal space and a performance/community room. It’s a wonderful opportunity and one which will benefit the City well into the future.”
Roger Bright, Chair, St John’s Winchester said: “St John’s is delighted to be facilitating this expansion of the Chesil’s facilities through the sale of part of its Chesil Site. The Theatre has a proud history and we look forward to seeing the Annexe completed and all the community benefits that will bring.”
The wardrobe and props team at the Chesil Theatre will be particularly pleased with the news as storage space has been severely limited to the upper floors of the tower, via a near-vertical staircase. The new scheme will provide a purpose-built section, easily accessed for the Society and other local groups looking for costumes and props.
For this improved larger area of land Chesil Theatre will now prepare a fresh planning application. Winchester City Council and the Town Forum have been very supportive of the Society’s plans over many years. Cllr Kathleen Becker, Chairman Town Forum said:“We are pleased to hear that this long hoped-for development can now be realised and the theatre can continue to offer its wonderful benefits to the city.”
For further information please contact:
Chesil Theatre Marketing Team
About Chesil Theatre
Chesil Theatre (Winchester Dramatic Society) is based in the heart of Winchester, presenting six main productions a year, ranging from comedy to classics. Chesil Theatre also runs drama workshops and readings, a lively youth theatre group as well as offering stagecraft and technical training. The company has been performing for over 150 years.
Since 1966 Chesil Theatre has been the Society’s permanent home - a 12th century former church in Chesil Street, Winchester. This medieval building provides an intimate 75-seat studio-style theatre and versatile performance space.