Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, Surrey presents in-house productions which often tour and transfer to London's West End. Other performances include opera, ballet and pantomime. Named after the actress Yvonne Arnaud, the company has two performance venues, a main theatre and the smaller Mill Studio . A youth department offers regular productions in the Mill Studio and an annual summer musical on the main stage.

Replacing a former repertory theatre, the present complex was opened in 1965, taking advantage of an attractive riverside site and incorporating a restaurant and bar which is also available to non-theatregoers. The foundation stone was laid by Vanessa Redgrave who commemorated the occasion by casting her hands in concrete. The company opted to dispense with traditional repertory theatre in favour of a more flexible model in which actors are cast as appropriate to different productions. Many stars have performed at the theatre over the years. Stephen Barry was a young assistant director in the 1960s. The first artistic director, Laurier Lister, was succeeded in 1975 by Val May who continued a policy of balancing classical and popular theatre. The theatre presents a high proportion of new plays. Its scenery workshops also build for Glyndebourne, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Chichester Festival Theatre and other commercial companies.

The theatre today
Today Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, under the Directorship of James Barber, is a busy producing and receiving house creating shows in Guildford and touring nationally with many transferring to the West End. On both the main stage and in the Mill Studio an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary work is staged by new, lesser-known and established writers. Ballet, opera and children's events are also staged, alongside music, comedy, contemporary dance and more experimental theatre in the Mill Studio. An annual pantomime, art exhibition and film season feature and the Youth and Education facility offers an exciting mix of activities for young people and adults all year round. Extensive catering facilities are available to suit all pockets, providing a complete night out for everyone - not just theatregoers.

The Mill Studio
Originally the eighteenth-century Town Mill building housed the theatre's workshops. The studio opened in 1993 as a venue for work that would not otherwise be seen in Guildford and as a base for the Youth Theatre's activities. In 1997, a lottery grant was used to upgrade the facilities, enabling expansion in audience capacity and the range of productions presented. It is now a lively venue for small-scale work by professional companies.

The Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre
The Yvonne Arnaud's Youth theatre offers an exciting and extensive array of workshops, classes and theatre activities for all people between the ages of 6 and 21.

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference and added a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com