*** DEBUG END ***

Mirfield given go-ahead to restore quarry theatre

21 March 2014


A big space: Guy Laurie, the Community of the Resurrection's general manager, at the theatre site

A big space: Guy Laurie, the Community of the Resurrection's general manager, at the theatre site

PLANNERS have given the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield permission to restore a derelict open-air theatre.

The theatre, built in a former quarry in the community's grounds, once hosted speakers such as Keir Hardie and Emmeline Pankhurst. It was also where the Mirfield-born actor Sir Patrick Stewart made one of his earliest stage appearances.

The natural amphitheatre was created more than a century ago, when stone was quarried to build houses near by. It was turned into a theatre by the community soon after it was established there in 1898, and used for sermons, Bible classes, plays, and political meetings. Originally, it accommodated audiences of up to 6000, but it was abandoned in 1976, and fell into disrepair.


Last week, Kirklees Council approved a £500,000 restoration. It includes recycled plastic seating, a grassed picnic area, and a retractable rain-cover over the stage.

The Superior of the Community, Fr George Guiver CR, told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner: "We need to make the most of our income and make the site pay. That is the modern way. This could be a really remarkable facility for Mirfield, and we want to invite the community back."

The Brothers hope to stage 14 performances a year - all matinées - between May and September, for audiences of up to 750. Schools will be encouraged to stage shows, as well as professional and amateur companies.

The general manager at the Community, Guy Laurie, said that talks had been held with various groups, including Opera North, Huddersfield Choral Society, and Huddersfield University. "We made contact to see if there was a genuine interest in bringing the theatre back to a working life," he said. "We didn't want it to be a museum piece, but a venue that has a real relevance today."


Eric Firth, a Kirklees councillor, described the venture as "a fantastic opportunity".

The Community, which now has 18 Brothers, shares its life with the College of the Resurrection - the theological college which has 30 resident students training for the priesthood - and a retreat house.

In recent years, it has raised more than £900,000 to modernise its premises, much of it from auctions of donated and redundant artefacts. The next auction, on 29 March, will help to raise funds for the theatre restoration. 


Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM: 

Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Church Times/Canterbury Press:

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

Early bird tickets available



Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)