Leatherhead Theatre

7 Church Street,
Leatherhead, KT22 8DN

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Cresent Theatre

The Crescent Cinema opened in 1939 with a seating capacity of 1,282. Designed in an Art Deco style by architects A.E. Richardson, C. Lovatt Gill and Arthur Percival Starky. It was equipped with a Hammond ‘Lafleur’ electonic organ with an illuminated console which was opened by organist Don Compton. The cinema had a stage 30 feet deep, with two dressing rooms provided and the proscenium was 40 feet wide. It was independently operated. The Crecent Cinema was closed in around 1967 and bingo was tried out, but wasn’t successful and the building was sold to the local council.

In 1969, architect Roderick Ham made great alterations, to the stage end, the frontage and also gutting the auditorium, re-opening as the Thorndike Theatre. The auditorium now had a bare brick finish and 530 seats and is considered one of the best theatre designs of its time.

In 1995 the Thorndike Theatre began screening films as well as live performances, but the management company went bankrupt and the theatre closed in mid-1997. At the end of 1997, it was taken over by Screen Works to become a 180 seat cinema, using only the rear seating area, but this was a short lived venture. It then was used by religious groups for meetings.

Re-named Leatherhead Theatre, it re-opened in 2001. The main auditorium now has 512 seats and there is a studio theatre seating 80 and a 40 seat conference room.

The building was designated a Grade II Listed building in 1999.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Biffaskin on January 19, 2020 at 1:51 pm

This is strange, as Surrey County Council offered the vacant site of the former Crescent Cinema to build the new theatre, as the town’s only other repertory theatre, the former Ace Cinema had become too small for the company operating from there. So, I think that this text is incorrect, it’s a new build, on an older cinema site, not altered as it says here.

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