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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