Playhouse plans to go back to Georgian roots

The Playhouse, Sleaford.
The Playhouse, Sleaford.

A historic theatre has been granted thousands of pounds to restore it back to its former glory.

Sleaford Playhouse, one of just two Georgian playhouse buildings in the country, has been awarded a £5,000 grant by the Theatres Protection Fund’s Small Grants Scheme to restore the building to its Georgian roots.

The Grade II listed building will be undergoing a fenestration project on its windows, and in a twist of fate, the works will be carried out by stonemason Phil Topholme, whose father Bill Topholme removed and renovated the original stone work back in 1947.

Tony Gordon, chairman of the Sleaford Little Theatre, said: “We are very pleased with the news. We made the application back in the spring, but didn’t hear anything for a long time, then we heard that we had received the maximum grant of £5,000.”

The Playhouse has also recently received planning permission from North Kesteven District Council’s planning comittee to renovate one of their outbuildings.

The building was built back in the 1820s as a theatre by Joseph Smedley, before it was converted to become Sleaford’s first infant school in 1857.

It has also served as a library, an emergency shelter during the First and Second World Wars and a government benefits office.

Sleaford Little Theatre then bought the building in 1994 and restored it to its original use, and the newly revamped Playhouse opened its doors to the public in October 2000, where it has run as a valuable asset to the town ever since.

It is hoped that the fenestration works will be completed in time for the Sleaford Little Theatre’s production of Titfield Thunderbolt, which will be performed from December 11 to 15.