Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2SP – Visit Now
The Lawrence Batley Theatre, home of live performance in Huddersfield, crafts a varied programme for and with its local community.
Starting life as a Methodist chapel in 1819 before falling to disuse, The Lawrence Batley Theatre was given new life by Kirklees Theatre Trust in 1994, when its ribbon was cut by Sir Patrick Stewart and Dame Judi Dench. Since then, the impressive building has served as a central hub for music, drama and art in Huddersfield, where it celebrates and challenges the creativity and interests of the local community.
The Lawrence Batley Theatre’s impressive 450 capacity auditorium houses cutting-edge performance across a multitude of genres, including plays, musicals, opera, circus, contemporary dance and in-house pantomimes. The 100 capacity basement, meanwhile, plays host to the Comedy Cellar, where comedy greats have been taking to the mic once a month ever since the theatre was born.
One of the theatre’s priorities is nurturing talent. Its Young Company encourages young people to get involved in theatre through weekly classes, theatre trips and special events. Its Storytellers project, meanwhile, commissions theatre-makers to devise electric new works tailored to its own spaces.
The theatre is also home to innovative theatre-makers such as Dark Horse Theatre, a national touring ensemble of actors with learning disabilities, and Chol, who bring magical drama workshops to people in Kirklees. It also provides a performing home for many amateur theatre groups, such as Huddersfield Thespians and Woodhouse Musical Theatre Company.
The Lawrence Batley Theatre also does much to engage the local community, irrespective of background or circumstances. In 2014, it partnered with local organisations to create Dewsbury-based Creative Scene, which makes theatre an everyday feature in North Kirklees, gathering audiences in social clubs and town squares to experience spectacular performance that is accessible to all.