I visited the Angles Theatre a couple of times last year and was pleasantly surprised. Situated in Alexandria Road, the Angles Theatre is the local Arts Centre in Wisbech. It is housed in a Georgian building and has an interesting theatrical tradition stretching over 200 years, and one of the few working Georgian theatres in the UK. Built in 1793, it was used as a theatre for over fifty years and then became home to a grain store, the Town Library, a school and a tent makerâ€™s. Nowadays the auditorium is owned by the Christian Spiritualist Church.
Locals know it as an arts venue and with the reintroduction of live theatre over twenty years ago, Angleâ€™s 105 seat auditorium is once again hosting events and showcasing talent from the world of music, dance, poetry, theatre companies and other performing arts projects. It also has regular events such as live music and quiz nights. I was given a tour of the theatre and brief history of the building before relaxing in the licenced bar. There is a pay and display parking area a few yards from the theatre which is free after 6pm.
The Angles Theatre has moved on quite a bit from the halcyon days of itâ€™s 18th Century provincial theatre roots, especially as they were only used for two months every two years. Future productions include the award winning musical/comedy The Drowsy Chaperone, which is being staged by the Wisbech Operatic and Dramatic Society from 15-19th May. The Flatlands Comedy Club are staging â€˜Searching For Doctor Branovicâ€™ from 17-21 July. RATz will be performing their annual pantomime again in December.
Several local clubs use this venue and include The Cynthia Maxey School of Dance and RATzcool of Musical Theatre, both of which foster local talent. Last December I was invited along to see my pantomime, Dick Whittington performed at The Angles Theatre by RATz and was blown away by the talented young cast. Although it is a thriving theatre Angles is almost self-funding and relies heavily on volunteers in a variety of ways as front of house, back stage crew etc. Patrons include a few famous names from the world of theatre and music, Sir Derek Jacobi CBE, Dame Cleo Laine OBE and Jo Brand.
The young stars of tomorrow meanwhile have plenty of opportunity to learn and develop their skills here. From Mon 30th July â€“ Weds 1st August there is a junior summer workshop for 5-10 year olds. The musical challenge workshop for 10-18 year olds is the iconic musical Happy Days and runs from Mon 13th-Fri 24th August. Both of these are reasonably priced and culminate with performances. It all sounds like great fun – I wish there had been something like this when I was younger.
Angles foyer area also plays host to various displays, including the recent exhibition by William Ironside, of Fenlands Photography. There were thirty or more A3 colour prints of recent theatre shows (including the RATz production of Dick Whittington) and travel photos from locations including Arizona, Greece, Hawaii, Italy and Japan.
If, like me, you are only in Wisbech for the day then the High Street and market place have a wide range of established speciality shops and well-known shops with plenty of eating places. I love walking down old streets admiring the architecture and trying to absorb the history. The North and South Brink in Wisbech are known for their Georgian streets and little has changed over the years resulting in film crews using these wonderful locations in various productions. Part of the BBC TV period drama David Copperfield was filmed here.
With something for everyone the Angles Theatre provides an invaluable service to the community of Wisbech, and is well worth a visit.
Check the website for listings and productions at www.anglestheatre.co.uk
Images reproduced from fotolibra.com and anglestheatre.co.uk