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The Y Theatre, Granby Street and East Street, Leicester

Formerly - The Association Hall / The Playhouse

Leicester Theatres

The Y Theatre, Leicester in March 2011 - Courtesy David Garratt

Above - The Y Theatre, Leicester in March 2011 - Courtesy David Garratt

A programme for the Morton Powell Payers in 'Polly With A Past' at the Playhouse, Leicester in the 1930s - Courtesy David Garratt.The Y Theatre started life as the 'Association Hall', built as part of Leicester's YMCA building. The YMCA stands on the corner of Granby Street and East Street, close to Leicester's London Road Railway Station. The Theatre's entrance being on East Street. The Y Theatre is now Leicester's oldest Theatre building still in existence, and holds approximately 300 people.

The Theatre foyer is a wide corridor with a modern attractive Theatre bar and café to the right, and a staircase leading up to the Balcony. The auditorium stalls' floor is flat with removable seating, giving flexibility to various usage. Upstairs there is a balcony on three sides with stepped tip up Theatre seating. The balcony being supported on iron columns below and upwards to the ceiling, which has modern baffle boards hung down from the original roof. There is rich plaster work decoration on the balcony front, and upper columns.

Right - A programme for the Morton Powell Payers in 'Polly With A Past' at the Playhouse, Leicester in the 1930s - Courtesy David Garratt.

The stage is a proscenium stage with access from stage left only. Therefore to access stage right one must walk behind the backcloth. The rear wall of the stage is a shallow 'V' shape, and there is not much wing space. Access to the apron stage is via two entrances created underneath the ends of the balcony. There is no Fly Tower.

The Theatre has a history of amateur use, in fact in 1901 there is reference to Leicester Banks Cricket club Amateur Society presenting 'Dandy Dick' at the 'New YMCA Hall.'

By 1921 there is a report of leading amateurs working to set up a Repertory movement, and in 1922 Leicester Repertory Theatre Scheme presented a three week season of 'Twelfth Night.' at the 'Association Hall.'

By the 1930's the Theatre was known as 'The Playhouse' and was home to the Morton Powell Players, who on Monday 26th October were presenting 'Polly with a Past', to be followed the next week by 'Good Morning Bill.'

Details from a programme for the Morton Powell Payers in 'Polly With A Past' at the Playhouse, Leicester in the 1930s - Courtesy David Garratt.

Above - Details from a programme for the Morton Powell Payers in 'Polly With A Past' at the Playhouse, Leicester in the 1930s - Courtesy David Garratt.

In recent years the Theatre has been renovated, and redecorated, and the Y Theatre, as it is known today, offers a varied programme of Stand Up Comedy, plays, dance, music, and one night performances, together with amateur usage. The Y Theatre also plays its part in the Leicester Comedy Festival each year, and is a welcome asset to Leicester's busy night-life. You may like to visit the Theatre's own website here.

The above article was written for this site by David Garratt and kindly sent in for inclusion in 2011. The article and its accompanying images are © David Garratt 2011.

If you have any archive images of this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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