Tucked away in the heart of Worcestershire lies the beloved Malvern Theatre, a place where stories have been told, laughter roared and emotions soared for many decades. Its story weaves through the town’s history, embodying the spirit of entertainment, community, and artistic expression.
History of The Malvern Theatre
The theatre’s construction commenced with a grand ceremony held on July 6, 1884. The Earl of Beauchamp, a prominent figure in Malvern society, laid the foundation stone, accompanied by esteemed guests such as the renowned opera singer Jenny Lind. It was originally designed as a multi-purpose venue, with the original assembly rooms (which housed the theatre) serving a variety of purposes including concerts, balls and theatrical performances. The spacious balcony could accommodate an audience of up to 1,000 people!
The Malvern Theatre officially opened its doors on July 1, 1885, with a grand gala performance. The event marked the culmination of years of planning and anticipation, bringing live performances to the heart of Malvern.
The theatre hosted a diverse range of productions during its early years, including opera, ballet, and plays. Renowned performers such as Sarah Bernhardt and Henry Irving graced the stage, attracting audiences from across the region.
In 1929, the Malvern Drama Festival, a significant event in the theatre’s history, was established. The festival, dedicated to the works of Bernard Shaw, brought together international playwrights and actors, solidifying Malvern’s reputation as a centre for theatrical excellence.
The Malvern Theatre’s architectural roots lie in the late Victorian era, embodying the opulent style of the period. The original Assembly Rooms, constructed in 1884, showcased a blend of Italianate and Baroque influences, featuring a grand façade with elaborate detailing, arched windows, and a spacious auditorium.
Since its opening, The Malvern Theatre has been a stage for an illustrious array of performances, hosting iconic Shakespearean plays such as “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Macbeth.”
Renowned musicians like Sir Edward Elgar and contemporary artists have filled the theatre with their melodies. Acclaimed actors like Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, and Sir Laurence Olivier have all mesmerised audiences in unforgettable dramatic productions.
Comedic legends like Eddie Izzard and Victoria Wood have also left their mark during uproarious stand-up shows.
What’s more, the theatre has witnessed captivating ballet performances by prestigious companies and delighted families with enchanting shows featuring beloved characters.
Renovations and Redevelopments
Following the Second World War, the Malvern Theatre underwent a series of renovations and expansions, seeking to modernise the venue whilst preserving its architectural heritage.
In 1950, the theatre’s entrance was redesigned, adding a new foyer and cloakroom, while the auditorium underwent significant improvements to acoustics and stage machinery.
In 1998, the Malvern Theatre embarked on a comprehensive redevelopment project, transforming the venue into a state-of-the-art performing arts centre. The project involved the creation of two new theatres – the main Subscription Theatre and the Forum Theatre – along with additional rehearsal spaces and support facilities.
In recent years, the Malvern Theatre has embraced sustainability, integrating environmentally friendly features into its design and operations. The theatre’s lighting and heating systems have been upgraded to minimise energy consumption. Rainwater harvesting systems have also been installed to collect and reuse rainwater for irrigation and toilet flushing.
Experiencing The Malvern Theatre Today
Visiting Malvern’s famous theatre in 2024 and beyond, you’ll be treated to a range of performances in a cosy and historic setting, providing entertainment for various tastes.
Additionally, the picturesque Malvern Hills surrounding the town offer a stunning backdrop, perfect for leisurely walks, hikes, and scenic exploration.
The combination of cultural enrichment at the theatre and the tranquil beauty of the hills makes Malvern an appealing destination for a well-rounded and relaxing getaway.
The Complete Malvern Theatre Experience
Before stepping through the grand entrance of The Malvern Theatre, dedicate time to take in the historic town and dine in one of the highly-rated local restaurants.
The Mulberry Tree’s prime location and menu of traditional favourites and gourmet-style cuisine offers theatre-goers one of the best places to eat in Malvern before a show.
Whether it’s our delicious ‘roast chicken supreme’ or the tempting ‘miso catch of the day’, we take advantage of the freshest seasonal and local Malvern produce to ensure maximum flavour in every meal.
By carefully planning our menus, we aim to keep things interesting and offer a wide variety of options that change throughout the year. This way, no matter what time of year you choose to visit The Malvern Theatre, you will be treated to a tasty dining experience.
What’s more, we serve food all day long, with menus for breakfast & brunch and lunch & dinner, so whether you have a ticket for a matinee or evening performance, we are open to make your day complete.
Book a Table at One of the Best Places to Eat in Malvern
We take pride in our team’s commitment to delivering top-notch local cuisine, exceptional service, and a friendly ambience that keeps guests coming back for more.
Wondering what sets us apart? Come and discover firsthand why we’re renowned for our dedication to quality.
To experience our exceptional dining at our Malvern restaurant, give us a call at 01684 561837 or conveniently book your table using our restaurant booking form.
We look forward to welcoming you for a memorable dining experience!