Celebrating 30 years of theatre’s roaring success in Horncastle

The Lion Theatre is celebrating this week
The Lion Theatre is celebrating this week

Horncastle’s beloved Lion Theatre is set to open its doors to the public tomorrow (Saturday, December 15) for a nostalgic display of its history.

The event is all in aid of the theatre’s 30th anniversary, which will be followed by a party at the theatre for anyone who has ever been involved in the Horncastle Theatre Company.

Current and former members alike will be able to enjoy a meal, party games and a quiz all about the theatre’s history.

Plus, a cake will be cut by the theatre’s longest serving and youngest members.

The company’s secretary, Dominic Hinkins, told the News that the event is promising to attract a large turnout.

He said: “We’ve already got 40 guests confirmed, so it’s going to be quite a party.

“It’ll be great to see some familiar faces back for the night. I’m sure there will be plenty to reminisce about.”

As well as the building turning 30, the Horncastle Theatre Company turns 45 this year, too.

Founded in 1973, the company still boasts two of its original members.

Mr Hinkins said: “The company used to rehearse in the rooms behind the Red Lion Pub, until these were donated to the us by the then landlord and lady, Eric and Betty Benson.

“The company then developed the buildings to create the theatre space we have today.”

The Lion Theatre faced an uncertain future in 2015 when the Red Lion Pub was put up for sale and the company was asked to vacate the premises.

After a few months of anguish, the pub was purchased by Yorkshire-based brewery Samuel Smith and the company resumed rehearsals and performances in their beloved theatre.

“It’s a wonderful asset to the town,” remarked Mr Hinkins.

“To have a dedicated arts space where the community can see award-winning theatre is something really special.

“It’s a brilliant creative outlet for youngsters in the town as we have two very popular youth theatre groups.

“We put on seven to eight productions a year, so there’s never a dull moment.”

The company is also hard at work preparing for their hotly anticipated pantomime - a beloved annual tradition in the town.

This year will see the company showcase a rather unusual title - Zorro.

It has been adapted by committee member Chris Liversidge and promises to deliver all the usual pantomime conventions that audiences know and love.

“There’ll be plenty of audience participation, a lot of laughs, a baddie and, of course, a dame”.

The Lion Theatre will be open this Saturday from 1pm to 4pm, where the public will have the opportunity to find out all about the theatre’s history, past productions, and see props from over the years.

“Visitors are often surprised by how the theatre looks”, said Mr Hinkins.

“They come in and say, ‘it’s just like a proper theatre’. Well, of course it is!

“It’s Horncastle’s slice of the West End, which is definitely something to be celebrated.”