Horley theatre celebrates 60th birthday
A UNIQUE theatre, housed beneath Horley's railway arches, is celebrating its 60th birthday.
The Archway Theatre, one of the few amateur theatres in the country to boast its own in-house theatre company, produces around 10 shows a year, with all the work done on site by volunteers.
Despite a strong youth workshop programme and patronage from Oscar winner Dame Judi Dench, The Archway Theatre is always on the lookout for new members to help secure its future.
Chairman Chris Butler said: "Every single thing that's done here is voluntary. We are trying to create this club atmosphere where people want to help.
Choose from a wide range of fabrics on our Roller or Vertical Blinds and get £20 off when you quote solo11
Terms: This offer is on Roller or Vertical Blinds only and can only be redeemed once per person.
Contact: 01306 770413
Valid until: Tuesday, December 24 2013
"We rely on, and we need, kids and audiences – they're our main income.
"It is very important that we keep this balance."
Fellow member Pat Randle, who has been a member of the theatre for 45 years, said: "We need the people to keep coming and keep it going for the future."
The group's 180 members work together to put on shows.
As well as starring in and directing them, they also build the sets and manage the lighting, but with very few professional builders or electricians.
Despite a strong membership, the group says it can still be a struggle to find sufficient numbers, since 80 front-of-house staff can be needed for each show's two-week run.
Mr Butler said: "Even though we've got so many members, it's the 80-20 situation. You generally only have 20 per cent of people available at a time.
"We find that actors are mercenary. When I first started you came here, worked here and stayed here.
"Now they go where the big parts are."
A number of youngsters in the town get their first foot on stage through the company's youth workshops, which run on a Saturday morning.
They offer 8 to 16-year-olds the chance to have a go, with many staying with the company for years to come.
Many are drawn in by the communal atmosphere of the theatre, which is a registered charity.
Fundraiser Kevin Hawkes, 53, joined six years ago. He said: "I like the variety of different shows they do. There is always something to do, it is a very friendly place to work."