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In Lerwick, in the Shetland Islands, the building that currently houses the Garrison Theatre was constructed in 1903. It was used as a Drill Hall and gymnasium during World War I, and was also the headquarters of the 7th Volunteer Battalion Gordon Highlanders.
In 1942 it was converted into a theatre by ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) and used to entertain troops. During the 1950’s and 1960’s it was owned by Zetland County Council. It was repaired and refurbished in 1989, and was programmed by Islesburgh Drama Group and an Entertainments Committee. Ownership was transferred to the Islesburgh Trust, and then Shetland Charitable Trust. Shetland Arts Development Agency took over the running of the theatre in 2006.
The Garrison Theatre has a footnote in the island’s cinema history. Between 1989, when the town’s only cinema, the North Star Cinema, closed to films, and the eventual opening, in 2012, of its replacement, Mareel Cinema, the Garrison Theatre presented regular film shows (at least monthly). Since the Mareel Cinema opened, the Garrison Thetare has reverted to exclusively live presentations.
It has a sprung proscenium stage with 19 rows of fixed raked seating. There are two dressing rooms.
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