"Charles always said that he'd dearly love to see a purpose built theatre in the borough."

Peggy Cryer

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The history of the CryerArts Centre

CryerArts Theatre, previously known as the Charles Cryer Studio Theatre is named after the man who, as Chairman of Sutton Arts Council from 1968 to 1984 and its Vice-President until 1989 and a leading light of the highly successful Carshalton Pantomime Company, was a great supporter of the arts in the Borough.

 

The theatre is a development from a building which was erected in 1874 as a public hall for the village.

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A war time photo outside Carshalton public hall.

Before becoming a theatre, it was used as a roller-skating rink (from 1900 to 1912) and a cinema (from 1912 to 1939). Initially it seated 500. By the late-1920s it had gone over to full-time cinema use and had been renamed the Palace Theatre. Operated by Popular Cinemas Ltd, it was listed with 486 seats and there was a dance hall attached. It had closed by 1940, due to the opening of the Gaumont Carshalton in 1937.

 

In the 1960s local schools and community groups used it regularly to host their productions and it was even used as a wedding venue.

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The Boys Brigade performing at Carshalton public hall in 1963.

During the 1970s discos were held here for the under-18s and it became a popular meeting place. The venue was rebuilt as a studio theatre, designed by Edward Cullinan Architects, and opened by Prince Edward in 1991.

 

To convert the building to a theatre, the roof and the facade were renewed. A stone-set wind vane and three red-brick entrance arches were kept. Of note are the tiled eaves to each side of the building, which project past the front. The interior was renewed including staircases and porthole-shaped windows. A new floor was designed to divide the hall in half.

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