Speaker meeting 30th November

President Tony Beenham with Mike Beedham

Mike Beedham was the speaker at the Church Wilne Rotary Club on Monday 30th November when he gave a presentation on the history to the present day of the Duchess Theatre also known as the Chatsworth Arts Centre which is on West Gate in Long Eaton.

Mike, who is the Chairman, said that in the early 80's John Barker wanted to provide a theatre group for the town and in 1985/86 the Bourne Methodist Church was available and at the opening of their first show there was no seating or heating. The members heard that further developments in those early days were the pops up seats acquired from an old Birmingham cinema and the concerts held in afternoons and evenings.

The Duke of Devonshire was the President for many years but following his passing away there is now no connection with Chatsworth House.

In 2003 a fire totally destroyed the centre but fortunately a fire door saved the old school hall which is now the main centre for the group.

They applied for a lottery grant from the Arts Council but were told to don't bother them and go away as there are plenty of similar facilities in both Derby and Nottingham. Well today the centre is almost fully booked with 45 weeks booked this year and just 2 weeks available for next year and several dates taken for 2017.

It took a further 5 years to reopen the centre and this was achieved by the wonderful support of many dedicated volunteers. The roof was repaired, Saturday coffee mornings held and now all three buildings are linked together.

There is now seating for 180 and as well as theatre shows the centre caters for a wide variety of events including barn dances, pop concerts, films, cream teas, birthday parties and more.

The Duchess Theatre and Chatsworth Arts Centre

The centre has a management committee and a voluntary staff of 6 at every performance. Mike thanked his vice chairman and member of Church Wilne Rotary Club, Adrian Perkins, for the opportunity to give a brief history of the centre and finished by saying if you have not been to the Duchess Theatre to "Please come down to see us as we would love to see you".

For more information on Rotary, our speaker evenings and the main activities organised by our club please contact Rotarian John Astell at: rccw1220@gmail.com

Ray Terry
For the Rotary Club of Church Wilne

23rd November 2015


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