150 YEARS OF RICH HISTORY
On Thursday 26th December 1867, 150 years ago, Residents of Guiseley came out in their hundreds to witness the formal opening of Guiseley Town Hall, known to many now as our home, Guiseley Theatre.
The Town Hall was paid for by Sir Matthew William Thompson, a wealthy Guiseley
resident and benefactor, MP and Director of the Midland Railway Company, who
achieved many great things such as becoming mayor of Bradford, being an leading
advocate in the construction of the infamous Forth Bridge. Thompson gave the
grand sum of £2548 toward the £2921 total needed. The remainder was paid for by
Subscriptions, as little as one shilling, from Guiseley residents. Sir Matthew William
Thompson gave the deeds for the building to the town council stating that it was
"for the use of the inhabitants of Guiseley forever".
Since then, the theatre has seen many different forms, from town hall, to cinema, and hospital to fire station, before being taken over by Guiseley Amateur Operatic Society in 1985, where the building was renamed 'Guiseley Theatre'.
2019 saw the launch of a new Community Interest Company, Guiseley Theatre CIC, who have taken over the running of the building and have plans to bring the building in to the 21st century. Looking forward, the theatre is now on the brink of a new chapter in its life as redevelopment plans are being put together to make Guiseley Theatre a usable and accessible building to continue is use for another 150 years.
To read a detailed history of the buildings life, see the online exhibition curated for the Tales Told festival by Codswallop CIC here.
We are proud to run Guiseley Theatre on an entirely Voluntary basis with no paid staff with the exception of a part time cleaner. This means the team that keeps the bilding alive are passionate about the place and come from all sorts of backgrounds.
The main group behind the running of the theatre are the Theatre board, made up of 12 members from businesses, amature dramatics groups and local residents.
There is also a wider circle of regular volunteers who man the bar, steward events and help with maintenance of the building.
Within Guiseley Theatre there are many different groups that use the building, but there are a number of organisations that are permanently based here. These are our Associated Organisations.
Little Cherries are a musical theatre club based in Guiseley Theatres Annex, located to the rear of the main theatre building.
In the autumn of 2017, Little Cherries took up permanent residence in the annex, a previously under used space, an old Word War II communications office. Little Cherries use the space for classes and rehearsals.
GAOS have been a massive part of Guiseley Theatres history after first forming and performing in 1923.
The current managing board format was originally born out of the GAOS organisation and are still very much a part of the life of the theatre. GAOS use the theatre to rehearse and perform 2 shows annually.
Tel: 07960 604082