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A New Look for The Bear Pit Theatre

Steve Farr, Paul Greenwood, Roger Ganner, Phil Beeson and Emily Myerscough. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

The Bear Pit Theatre in Rother Street, Stratford-upon-Avon has a brand-new look. Gone is the ‘in-the-round’ – the central stage with seating all around, and in is a new configuration of the original proscenium style of raked seating greatly improving the sight line for audiences.

On Sunday 17 September The Bear Pit officially launched their newly refurbished theatre, inviting the public in to see all the work that the theatre’s dedicated supporters and volunteers have been doing over the summer.

The auditorium now offers more seats (111) with extra height giving everyone an excellent view of the whole stage area. There’s a new technical desk at the back of the auditorium, there’s been new wiring, lighting and speakers; the spotlights have all been painstakingly cleaned, as have the black curtains surrounding the stage.

The Bear Pit's new seating. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

Another new feature is the cinema screen and a new Community Cinema for the public to enjoy. There’s even a new ticket booking system in place using Ticket Source.

Roger Ganner, the new Chairman of The Bear Pit welcomed everyone on Sunday evening thanking the outgoing Chair, Simon Allen for his years of dedicated service to the theatre and then talking of the changes and upcoming productions planned for 2024. Artistic Director, David Mears also spoke of the work undertaken over the summer and what audiences can expect in the future.

Bear Pit's new Chairman, Roger Ganner. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

There’s great optimism and excitement for The Bear Pit’s future, but both Roger and David stressed the importance of the volunteers – without whom the theatre could not function. They again ask if anyone can spare even an hour or two a week that is a huge help.

The evening began with a humorous look at the history of the Bear Pit on the new cinema screen, and then a look at productions coming up over the next few months with directors and writers each talking about their forthcoming plays.

These included Paul Greenwood’s new play ‘Head and Heart’ – originally entitled ‘Creative Writing’ which reveals what happens when those characters start to take over the writer! (31 Jan – 3 Feb 2024).

Laura Wade’s ‘Colder Than Here’; directed by Jacquie Campbell. (12 – 16 March 2024)

‘Art’ by Yasmina Reza, directed by Lynda Lewis. (23-27 April 2024).

‘Glorious’ by Peter Quilter, directed by Phil Beeson, which is based around Florence Foster Jenkins – ‘the worst singer in the world’. She was an enthusiastic soprano singer, delusionally unaware that she was singing to audiences who were falling about with laughter. (18-22 June 2024)

‘Road’ by Jim Cartwright, directed by Steve Farr (25 – 28 October 2024) who has directed a number of plays for The Bear Pit including Blink by Phil Porter in 2022 and The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh in 2019.

The Railway Children by E.Nesbit, adapted by Mike Kenny and directed by Emily Myerscough (6 – 15 December 2024). Emily is currently directing James and the Giant Peach.

It was a lovely evening of conversation and discovery with much to enjoy at The Bear Pit Theatre in Rother Street, Stratford-upon-Avon. Be sure you book tickets for one of the shows that are coming soon.

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