We've asked our Ambassadors, staff and other people we work with about their favourite theatres and their first theatre memories.
Alan Ayckbourn - favourite theatre
What's your favourite theatre and why?
The SJT is for me the perfect round space which we, the company, virtually had built to order for us utilising the best of all we’d learned from our previous buildings. Not too big, not too small and with the audience sitting all round in the same room, sharing the performance with performers and each other. A truly magic space.
This is part of an interview with Alan Ayckbourn that will feature in the January edition of TM, our magazine for supporters. Find out more about becoming a supporter.
Photo by Ian Grundy
Samira Ahmed - first theatre
Samira's first memory of going to the theatre was seeing the pantomime Babes in the Wood at Wimbledon Theatre. It starred Don Estelle and Windsor Davies from the hit comedy show It Ain't Half Hot Mum and young comedian, Jim Davidson.
Kate Bierman - early theatre memories
Kate remembers going to shows at the Taunton Brewhouse and seeing Anita Dobson and Jeffrey in Aladdin at Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre.
Justine Harvey - early theatre memories
Justine had annual trips to see the panto at Sunderland Empire, including seeing the cast of It Ain't Half Hot Mum in Babes in the Wood. She also used to see amateur productions at the Pier Pavilion in South Shields with a version of Anything Goes particularly sticking in her mind.
Claire Appleby - first theatres
The first theatre Claire visited as a child was the Theatre Royal Portsmouth, which was being run by a community group at the time. Her first memory of a show was seeing Annie Get Your Gun at the Chicester Festival Theatre, where a friend of her family was working.
Photo by Philip Vile
Tom Clarke - favourite theatres
I love the Shepherds Bush Empire, a Matcham which is now a great music venue. Also the New Wolsey in Ipswich which is a superb local producing theatre with great all-day cafe which I miss since I moved away. The Regent in Chelmsford is a beautiful building and one of the Trust’s former ‘Sleeping Beauties’, it’s a bar now but I would love to see it back in use as a theatre or arts centre one day.
Dave Hare - favourite theatre
Do you have a favourite theatre?
My favourite theatre was the Brighton Combination, an 80-seat Victorian schoolhouse up an alley just up from the seaside. It did nothing but experimental work. Unfortunately, it was knocked down over forty years ago. The Almeida is still the best theatre space in London.
This question was asked as part of interview in the Autumn 2019 edition of TM.
Judith Kilvington - favourite theatre
What is your favourite theatre? (apart from the Citizens)
The Young Vic – the artistic vision, yes, but I just love the atmosphere in the bar.
This question was asked as part of interview with Judith in the Autumn 2019 edition of TM.
Beverley Knight - first theatre
My earliest memory of theatre is of Wolverhampton Grand. I had the opportunity to be on that stage from an early age because my ordinary comprehensive school understood the value of the arts and I have been lucky to play in some amazing theatres throughout my career.
Jude Law - childhood theatres
As a child I was taken to the theatre regularly: To more intimate spaces like the Young Vic, Greenwich Playhouse, the Bush, and the Gate and also historic and magnificent spaces, such as the National Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre.
John McGrath - favourite performance spaces
What’s your favourite performance space (other than The Factory of course!) and why?
Hard to choose. I still get a very particular thrill going to the Berliner Ensemble – it’s not the most beautiful theatre in the world, but it’s resonant with a history that still feels very significant to me. Performance Space 122 in New York was very important to me in my early years – just a converted school hall, but for a time, it was where the edges of culture and art were being defined. I will always love Contact – in some ways it’s a mess as a space, but it’s inhabited and brought to life every day in an extraordinary way. But the best setting for theatre I will ever experience, I think, has to be the Welsh mountains and hillsides where some of NTW’s most spectacular work has taken place.