The Theatres Trust

Playhouse (Cheltenham)

  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Dates of use
    • 1945: continuing
  • Current state
  • Current use
    Theatre (Amateur theatre)
  • Address
    Bath Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 7HG, England


Discovery of mineral springs in 1718 turned a market town into a Spa. The Montpellier Baths opened in 1806 and was an extensive establishment for its time. As now seen, it is a classical building with three Doric entrances. The Corporation purchased the baths in 1898. Changes then made included a swimming pool, but its popularity waned and in 1945 the building was converted to a theatre for amateur use. The floor of the auditorium was built over the swimming pool, originally as a flat floor venue, the seats not being fixed. More recently the auditorium has been raked and seating reduced from 300 to 228. Part of the former swimming pool provides the orchestra pit and the remainder is used for storage. The old reception lounge of the baths, with its stained glass windows remains in use as the theatre lounge. The stage has 14 hemp lines. There are five dressing rooms, and a quick change room, the largest dressing room doubling as a green room. The adaptation of two adjacent cottages provided a large workshop area. The are now five rehearsal rooms of varying sizes, two wardrobes and stores for lighting equipment and curtains.

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Façade of the Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham, 1994
© Theatres Trust

Façade of the Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham, 1998
© Theatres Trust

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  • Other names
  • Events
    • 1806 Design/Construction: as baths
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1945 Use: continuing
    • 1945 Alteration: converted to theatre
      • Unknown - Architect
    • 1945 - 1957 Owner/Management: Cheltenham Corporation
    • 1958 Owner/Management: Cheltenham Theatre and Arts Club
  • Capacities
    • Original: 300
    • Later: 1946: 300
    • Current: 228
  • Listings
    • Grade II
  • Stage type
    • Rake, proscenium
  • Dimensions
    • Stage dimensions: Depth: 12ft
    • Proscenium width: 22ft

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