A Brief History
At nearly 75 years old, WT has a long and varied history of producing theatre in and around Wokingham.
Find out more about where we came from, how we've grown, and our plans for the future.
The Wokingham Players initially staged their plays at a number of locations in and around Wokingham. After 15 years of steadily growing success the group established their own premises in Norreys Avenue in 1962.
This consisted of two wooden Army huts from Petersfield, transported to the site by Theatre members themselves and then adapted into a theatre.
Having a permanent building enabled the Theatre to expand its activities, staging 8 productions a year. It also formed a Youth Theatre, hosted touring companies and staged a number of special celebrity evenings.
After more than twenty years the Norreys Avenue building was showing its shortcomings. Snow or rain heralded a line of buckets underneath the proscenium arch to catch the drips! And as theatre regulations became more stringent it was obvious that our ability to continue to operate in a wooden building would eventually be curtailed. Accordingly a vigorous fundraising programme was started to raise funds for a permanent building on a new site.
After a number of years of fundraising, and with the support of the Wokingham District Council who provided a 10 year loan and a grant, building work began on the current site at Cantley. The new theatre was completed and opened to the public in September 1986.
During 2000 a major expansion project was undertaken allowing us to increase seating capacity to 144 by repositioning the ‘tech box’. At the same time the foyer and entrance were extended to provide an information counter, coffee bar and larger circulating area.
In 2019, after several years of planning, WT received the planning consent to undertake a multi-million pound development. This began with refurbishing the auditorium, with an increased WC capacity and all-new seating.
During the theatre’s temporary closure during the 2020 coronavirus epidemic, a considerable remodelling took place, with the information counter being removed, a new box office, increased WC capacity, new green rooms, new dressing rooms and an external barn all being completed before the theatre reopened in 2021.
WT’s membership is by far its biggest asset. From members who act on stage to staff the bar, light our shows, even run our website, we’re all volunteers – and there’s always an opportunity to get involved with WT!
Many of our growth plans are possible thanks to the generous sponsorship from individuals, companies, and corporations. If you’re interested in supporting WT achieve its mission of bringing theatre to Wokingham, click below.