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All access at Chorley Little Theatre

Chorley Little Theatre

Chorley Little Theatre is leading the way in making the market town’s community spaces more accessible

 

Chorley Little Theatre has a rich history as one of the town’s best-loved institutions, and the volunteer-run space is now able to open its doors to more with mobility issues.

The Chorley Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society (CADOS) have adapted the building to create 15 new accessible spaces, and have improved the disabled facilities among other making other modifications.

Estelle Byers, of CADOS, said: “We’ve had a big revamp in the auditorium that makes it much more accessible for everyone.  The whole floor got replaced and now we’ve got removable seats, which can be taken out and even big wheelchairs or scooters can fit.”

The funds came from various charitable donations, showing how much the theatre is valued by many in Chorley.

Estelle said: “We had a crowd funder to buy the seats and all sorts of people pitched in.

Chorley Little Theatre
A little history…
·~·  Chorley Little Theatre was opened in 1910 as the Empire Electric Theatre
·~·  It was the second building in Chorley to have electricity
·~·  A 1955 showing of ‘Rock Around the Clock’, banned in many other cinemas, saw the management prepare a hose pipe ready to calm any unruly teenage behaviour
·~·  The theatre closed in 1957 – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the last film shown
·~·  The building was saved from becoming a car show room by CADOS in 1960, who run the theatre to this day

“The people who put in for seats are up on our ‘Wall of Fame’, and there are our ‘Superstars’ who have made significant donations,” she said.

“People help in various ways – from running the raffle, volunteering, to donating a big chunk of money.  What it did show was how many friends in the community we have!”

 

Community spirit

 

The community spirit is essential to those at CADOS who own and operate the theatre, and it is that ethos which allows it to thrive after many difficult years.

Estelle said: “We are an inclusive theatre, and people who work in theatres have a community.

“We’ve got that history of supporting excluded people in the theatre – people have always come and found a home in the theatre historically.”

This has informed the group’s push to improve the building’s accessibility, which will no doubt benefit the Chorley Empire Community Cinema screenings, which bring people together who might otherwise be less socially active.

“We have always tried to have some inclusive screening,” said Estelle.  “The idea is that, instead of it being just cared-for people coming to the theatre for these screenings, it would be other members of the public all together.

“That’s what we want for the community as well as the theatre.”

 

To find out more about Chorley Little Theatre and upcoming events, visit their website.  You can also support CADOS by becoming a patron.

 

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