Brentwood Theater Renovation Nears Completion!

February 17, 2009 by  

brentwood3Mark Reed has provided an exciting update concerning the Brentwood Theater Project to The project was moving along nicely due to local involvement but received a significant bump when it became known to American fans of actor Stephen Moyer that he was the first patron of the theater’s renovation project. Contributing to the theater’s facelift swiftly spread among American fans as a way to say ‘thank you’ to Stephen for his amazing work as Bill Compton, the angst ridden, romantic vampire lead on HBO’s True Blood.

Contributors from America and around the world have donated almost 5000 pounds or approximately $7100 U.S. dollars to the theater in the last three months. The theater, who’s renovation is slated to be completed at the end of May, will not quite be finished when Stephen visits in April in conjunction with the UK rollout of True Blood. wishes to congratulate the Brentwood Theater on it’s successful fundraising and immanent backstage renovations and thank them for their ongoing communications. Please note that nested in their message is another way to help them raise money. The full press release follows:

The Builders are Back in Town!

From Mark Reed:
We delighted to announce that ALL of our backstage facilities are about to be completed, with the builders moving back on site on 23 February, and this final phase of the fit out is due for completion at the end of May. We cannot believe that this project is coming to an end. The fundraising was only launched in September 2005, and less than four years later, we have raised around £400,000 which will have been efficiently spent providing outstanding facilities for the local community. We reopened on 1 November, as planned, to a complete sell-out with the kids from BOSSY performing FAME, which was supported by the Theatre’s Patron, Stephen Moyer, currently in America from where he sent this message :

“I am currently in LA filming the second series of TRUE BLOOD for HBO. True Blood was nominated for two Golden Globes, one for best dramatic TV series and one for best Actress, which Anna Paquin actually won. We cannot wait until the show launches in April in the UK when I hope to dash back to see how this final phase is progressing.”

brentwood-renovationsFans of True Blood from America and all over the world have also donated nearly FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS in the past three months which has also ensured that we had enough money to go ahead with this final phase. Productions will continue without interruption during the final fitting out, with the builders working around rehearsals and performances to bring into use a new theatre office, washroom facilities, a galley kitchen and a multi-use space which will be able to be used as a dance studio (with full mirrors), rehearsal area, overflow dressing room or even a forty-seat studio theatre.

Audrey Longman, Chairman
It is with very mixed emotions that we must advise you that, after thirty years working on the Theatre project from when it was first mooted by Brentwood Arts Council, Audrey Longman, who has chaired the Trust for the past few years, will be retiring shortly. We are delighted that Audrey has stayed on to see the completion of Reaching Out, Building On as she has been so involved with this project for such a long time. Mixed emotions? Of course, because Audrey will be very much missed but we all know that she has earned her retirement!

Help earn us some money, please – thebestofbrentwood
Those of you who have received tickets in recent months will have seen our fantastic new ticket wallets, sponsored by thebestofbrentwood, an information website with all the best services and businesses in Brentwood – and we are delighted that they have chosen to include your favourite Theatre! And you can help us – may we ask you to take just a couple of minutes to visit their website at and leave a recommendation for Brentwood Theatre, either as a hirer or as a member of the audience. For every recommendation we receive, we earn a small fee, which we can then invest in the facilities here.

New advert NOW on Phoenix 98 FM

Do you listen to Phoenix 98 FM? Then listen out for the new advert for Brentwood Theatre, being played out three times a day, seven days a week. Voiced by our very own Stephen Gunshon (‘Fantastic Mr Fox’) and Roz Ure (Masquerade Productions, Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, and Girl Friday Productions, amongst other things).
Or you can click and play it above!

Hans’ House
Last week, we were very pleased to house Lin Politt’s production with The New Venture Players, called Hans’ House. Barry Kirk’s review, which will be published tomorrow but for which we have special permission to let you see today, explains it all……

FINDING some wartime papers about a German soldier and seeing it through to a stage production would be a fulfilling experience for any author, writes Barry Kirk. And so it turned out for Lin Pollitt of the New Venture Players after she discovered an old writing case in Romford market, containing letters photographs and an Iron Cross third class. After a year of research and writing, the result was put on at the Brentwood Theatre for three performances this week under the intriguing title of Hans’ House.

The story was of Hans Rothe, born in 1924 and who grew up in a generation of young Germans engulfed in the rise of Adolf Hitler. Enrolled as a member of the Hitler Youth, he was just old enough to join the German army at the outbreak of war in 1939, serving in the ill-fated Russian campaign and later transferring to the Waffen SS Panzers, the most fanatical and formidable force faced by the Allies. The letters and other documents were the main stay of the story, which according to Lin were about 70 per cent of the script; the rest was an author’s research and imagination. The huge amount of work she put in was evident in the script and the presentation of every detail from programme to posters was excellent. It was obviously a giant jigsaw, and Lin seems to have presented each piece to lead the audience through the story.

The first act was given to fitting the edges and outlining the subject depicted by a large number of light changes with snapshots of actors walking into raised lighting and exiting as they dimmed. It was an interesting idea and though I thought could possibly have benefited from some judicious editing; the overall effect was of a diary page being turned. The second half filled in all the picture with Hans being captured and held as a prisoner of war in America and later Britain where he was ‘re-educated’ out of the Nazi doctrine. He was reunited with his mother and sister briefly in East Berlin, also with his first ‘love’, a Jewish medical student taken to a concentration camp as he embarked for Russia. Unlike the first act, I thought these scenes could have done with a tad more explanation, not being as clearly defined as the first parts of the jigsaw.

As you would expect, there were uncomfortable moments but this is not a pleasant subject, though it seems that Hans’s life ended in this country, where he married a local girl and lived happily pottering away on a farm. The mystery is how did his writing case end up on an antique stall on Romford Market? It was obvious Lin had grown to see the human side of Hans and he was depicted and played with great sympathy by Will Fox. And who is to say the sins of youth should not be forgiven in later life, but I could not help but think how different the play may have been if the alternative had been considered of a young lad, apparently indoctrinated into a hate filled regime and later serving in one of the most fearsome bands of fanatics with a death’s head badge and nice shiny boots. His later declaration that he ‘had no choice’ had an awfully familiar ring to it. A large cast did full justice to the tremendous amount of work and it was a good tribute to the author, players and back stage team. New Venture Players are looking for new members. If you are interested, call 01708 754116.

Barry Kirk
Barking and Dagenham Post

This is great as this is what Brentwood Theatre is all about – giving people opportunities to do whatever they want, whether it is performing long-established shows or else bringing exciting new works to the public. And long may it continue!

We hope that you do enjoy receiving this news from time to time.
Mark, David, Ella
& the team

Brentwood THEATRE
A great night out!
15 Shenfield Road Brentwood Essex CM15 8AG
01277 200305 (Box Office)
01277 230833 (Administration)
01277 226658 (Stage Door)
Brentwood Theatre Trust Limited
President – The Lord Petre Chairman – Audrey Longman
Company No. 1669034 Registered Charity No. 285716 VAT Registration No. 626910929