The Apollo Theatre interior Apollo Theatre is a member of the Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain (LTG). The little Georgian building is a former Methodist chapel in Pyle Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, which was bought in 1970 and converted by a team of dedicated volunteers.
The Apollo Theatre’s story began around the time that another Apollo was landing on the Moon in July 1969.
In 1967, John and Patricia Hancock had moved to the Isle of Wight from Birmingham, where they were active members of a Little Theatre – an amateur group that owned its own premises. When a Victorian Methodist church came up for sale in Pyle Street, Newport, two months before the Moon landing, John quickly saw the potential to create a Little Theatre on the Island.
Thanks to his drive and energy and commitment, the money was raised to buy the church in May 1970. But it was a close run thing: the Apollo won with an offer just £65 more than its rival. A small army of volunteers – some of whom are still with the Apollo, forty years on – worked all hours to convert the building, and the Apollo Theatre opened its doors in April 1972 with a trial run of plays, music and an art exhibition.
And the rest, as they say, is history …
Every year the Apollo Players put on a main season of seven shows; in addition, there is a regular programme of jazz concerts and the theatre can be hired for other events.
They are continually investing in the building and its facilities, and have state-of-the-art lighting and sound and a small but comfortable auditorium (with seats originally saved from Shanklin cinema!).
The auditorium is wheelchair-accessible, with spaces for wheelchair users and an accessible loo close by, and there is a loop system for hearing-aid users. The well-stocked bar offers special themed cocktails and a new exhibition of local artists for each production in ‘Art in the Bar’.
To see a list of current shows, please see the Apollo Theatre website