7th October 1960

Sarnia Theatre celebrated its most successful year

The management of Guernsey’s only theatre held a banquet to celebrate its most successful ever season. Sarnia Theatre Ltd, which staged its shows at the Little Theatre in St Peter Port, had turned the largest profit in its history. However, as a “non-profit making” venture, all of the excess would be reinvested in the theatre and its productions.

The theatre and film industry newspaper, The Stage, reported,

It had been a season where everything had “come off” and [director Wally Thomas] had been fortunate in having the full-blooded help of tradesmen and business houses on the Island in every way. The Press, too, had been extremely helpful in weekly publicity and in constructive and knowledgeable criticism.

Facing closure

Sarnia Theatre had become tenants of the Guernsey Little in 1957 and, in 1967, bought the building itself. It made a considerable investment in improving its facilities.

Sadly, though, the company’s fortunes soon took a downturn. In 1971 it made a loss of more than £4500 and was facing liquidation. A possible buyer for the theatre was found but, unless the States of Guernsey would agree to rent it off them, it was likely it would be torn down and converted into flats. Planning consent for this had already been agreed in principle.

Unfortunately, in October 1972, the Little closed its doors after a discovery that its roof timbers were unsafe.

This left Guernsey without a theatre for at least the next three years. All eyes were therefore turned towards plans for Beau Sejour, slated for completion three years later. It would provide both sports and theatre facilities when it eventually opened. Its permanent theatre can now house audiences of up to 400 people.

Sarnia Theatre Ltd was compulsorily wound up on 29 July 1974.


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Other events that occured in October

Guernsey Post Office was established 1st
Guernsey switched to Reichsmarks 2nd
Sark was the target of Operation Basalt 3rd
Sark voted for democracy 4th
Guernsey lifeboat saved a Swedish schooner 5th
Jeeves actor died in Guernsey 6th
Sarnia Theatre celebrated its most successful year 7th
The Story of Adele H opened in cinemas 8th
Howards’ Way came to Guernsey 9th
Guernsey Ladies’ College opened 10th
A Trislander ate itself between Jersey and Guernsey 11th
The Channel Islands’ king set sail for England 12th
Major General Sir Isaac Brock died 13th
Footballer Matt Le Tissier was born 14th
Island FM brings commercial radio to Guernsey 15th
Channel Television saw off a rival broadcaster 16th
The first mines were dug on Sark 17th
Sark’s Stocks Hotel was damaged by fire 18th
Elizabeth College’s foundation stone was laid 19th
Hitler ordered the Channel Islands’ fortification 20th
Guernsey’s stone crackers demanded a pay rise 21st
The desalination plant opened 22nd
Sir Charles Hayward buys Jethou for £91,000 23rd
Guernsey Monopoly board game went on sale 24th
Dame Sibyl Hathaway chose her Desert Island Discs 25th
GUNS founder Charles Machon died 26th
Bailiff Sir Peter de Havilland was born 27th
A man “disappeared” from a Guernsey ferry 28th
Express & Star bought Guernsey Press 29th
The first lighthouses were built on the Casquets 30th
States of Guernsey voted to lower the voting age 31st