Our story begins with Stone Revellers, the longest running theatre group in Stone, who have been performing in the town since 1978.
“The Revs” have had many homes across the years from Alleyne’s High School to ABB’s Sports and Social Club to their current home in St Michael’s Community Hall. Here, each and every show is built completely from scratch: we build a stage, a balcony for the audience and then finally our set! It’s hard work that requires 5,760 people hours, 344 jam (and custard) doughnuts and approximately 8,763 cups of tea every single year.
Stone Revellers is all about community spirit and what a group of people can achieve together irrespective of age, background, or preferred doughnut filling*. A quality that is shared across all local arts and community groups. These groups have all flourished through ingenuity, dedication and passion for what they do, but have often been hampered by the lack of a high quality performance/presentation space. So, it was this that inspired the ambition to bring a purpose built theatre and events space to Stone.
A place for all local arts and community groups to join together. A place for creativity, imagination and ambition. And a place that will improve access and promote inclusivity to culture, events and activities to the residents of Stone and its neighbours.
We began by quietly scouting out potential locations, buildings and land and loved the look of the old fire station situated on the corner of Crown Street. A few emails later, we were sat in The Royal Exchange with Jill Hood and Rob Kenney from Stone Town Council. Coincidently, they’d received another enquiry that week about the same bit of land from another interested party and floated theidea of a potential partnership – this turned out to be the local Brewery Joule’s. And thanks to the council, we met with Joule’s Brewery who told us about their plans for a flagship pub in the town where their Brewery was first born. Joule’s absolutely loved the idea of a theatre and the project began to snowball from there.
Joule’s Brewery understood how theatre can bring people together, how it can create energy and spark conversations much like a good pub. In short, Joule’s share our passion and our vision, and offered to build us the outer shell of our theatre building, thereby becoming our main sponsor. Our idea was officially a project!
What we thought would be a 5-10 year project is unbelievably happening right now and not only required us to design the performance space but to work out how to raise a significant amount of money for the internal fit out in a relatively short amount of time. And that’s where The Crown Wharf Theatre comes in…
The Crown Wharf Theatre is a charity set up by a group of local people to support and fundraise the project and then subsequently (hopefully) to run the theatre upon completion. A massive challenge and one that relies upon the support of the whole community to make happen- I believe that it can be done.
*P.S. Raspberry jam every time.