History

Timeline
2018
June 19

1819

Queen Street Mission is built. The largest Methodist chapel in Europe, it cost £16,000 and could seat up to 1,862 people.
June 18

1970

After a decline in numbers the Methodist Chapel moves out of the building. Today part of the crypt is used as the Syngenta Cellar performance space, and other parts remain untouched.
June 17

1975

The building is given a Grade II listing.
June 16

1980

Kirklees Theatre Trust is set up with the aim of creating specific facilities in Kirklees for the use of professional and amateur theatre.
June 15

1991

Ron McAllister is appointed as Artistic Director to launch the theatre, working on the final stages of the theatre design with Kirklees in-house architects and Theatre Projects consultants.
June 14

1992

Conversion to a theatre begins, taking 220,000 hours to complete at a cost of £5.3 million.
June 13

1994

Dame Judi Dench lays the LBT’s foundation stone. “I long to do a play there someday” she says.
June 12

11 September 1994

The Lawrence Batley Theatre is officially opened by Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, with performances from Thelma Barlow, Randal Herley, Bill Owen MBE, Huddersfield Choral Society and Sellers Brass Band.
June 11

15 September 1994

The LBT’s Comedy Club is launched by Jeremy Hardy. Re-branded as the Comedy Cellar, it’s still going strong today.
June 11

1994

Longwood Amateur Operatic Society present the LBT’s first amateur musical production, The Pirates of Penzance. Many local volunteer companies continue to bring productions to the theatre’s stage.
June 10

1995

The LBT produces its first in house opera Picture of Dorian Gray, in association with Opera North
June 9

1997

Northern Broadsides make their LBT debut with repertory performances of Antony and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet. Broadsides continue to perform at the theatre regularly.
June 8

1998

LBT opens its Lottery funded North Wing Development including new rehearsal studio the Attic Theatre, workshops and offices.
June 7

1998

Full Body and the Voice, a national touring company featuring an ensemble of actors with learning disabilities, moves in. Now Dark Horse Theatre, they are still based at the LBT.
June 6

1998

LBT wins Arts Council England support to develop a contemporary dance programme. In 2015 dance remains at the heart of the theatre’s programme.
June 5

2001

The LBT’s founding Artistic Director Ron McAllister moves on and is succeeded by Rose Cuthbertson, who leads the organisation until 2004.
June 4

2004

Chol Theatre, a small scale professional touring company, become a resident company. They remain in Queen Street to this day.
June 3

2007

A new chapter begins with the appointment of Victoria Firth as Director.
June 3

2012

Arts Council England rates the LBT ‘outstanding’ for the second year in a row for the excellence and innovation of our programme.
June 2

2013

LBT joins Circus Evolution, an Arts Council funded touring project to increase audiences for contemporary circus.
June 1

2014

A consortium of partners led by the LBT is awarded a £2 million Arts Council England grant as part of the Creative People and Places project, to increase arts engagement in North Kirklees, now called Creative Scene.
June 1

2015

The theatre celebrates its 21st birthday with a special gala performance on the main stage.
May 31

2016

The theatre produces its first pantomime in 25 years – Cinderella. The LBT is now in its third year producing its own pantomime.

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