Shanklin Theatre's "Quirky Facts" by Michael Beston friend of Shanklin Theatre



Red Cross Girls parade outside the theatre 1940's 

10: “Did you know that whilst patrons were watching a show upstairs, a reinforced room had been constructed downstairs for the Civil Defence and Air Raid Wardens to monitor the ‘show’ of warfare in both World War II and the Cold War”

9:Shanklin Theatre is reputed to have 82 rooms, but the audience only have access to 12 of them”

8: “Did you know that scenes from the film "That'll be the day" starring David Essex & Ringo Starr were shot on location at Shanklin Theatre in 1973”

                                                                                                    David Essex & Ringo Starr  

7: “Actors & Stars would quite often complete a show at the Sandown Pavilion, jump in a waiting cab to be whisked off to perform at Shanklin Theatre, the performing actor coming in the opposite direction from Shanklin Theatre on the way to Sandown Pavilion would quite often stop and meet at Lake traffic lights to compare notes on the two different audiences”

6: “Did you know that Shanklin Theatre was formerly known as “The Institute” and opened in 1879”

5: “The original seating for the theatre was bought from W.W.Turner of Birmingham at a cost of £820.00”

           The "Institute"

4: “Did you know that Shanklin Theatre is unusual in that the audience are sitting on the flat, it is the stage which is raked. This might need special care and positioning when a wheelchair is in the production. Occupant and Wheelchair could end up in the front row”

3: “There is a time capsule put behind the 1933 foundation stone, this stone was half of the original stone which was cut in half”

2: “Did you know that J.B.Priestley personally attended a performance of his own play of “Time and the Conways” at Shanklin Theatre in August 1938”

1: “The original stage tabs ( which was in crushed strawberry) and auditorium curtains were purchased from Fowlers at Ryde for £210.00”


                                                                                   The theatre after exterior redecoration  

The Friends of Shanklin Theatre (FOST) was created in February 2008 following an announcement by the IOW Council they were considering closing the Theatre. The primary objective of the Friends is to support and maintain the Theatre for the use of the Community.

The Friends provide the mainstay of staff to run & manage the theatre whose age range is between 9 and 90.

The Volunteers run the Front of House, Box Office, Usherettes, Bar, Sweet Kiosk & Ice Cream Sellers, they also clean & maintain the building.

Since the re-opening of the Theatre, the Friends have produced shows, attended Island fetes, shows & festival's to raise funds, produce and sell theatre merchandise, organise prize draws & hold a bucket collection after every show raising a total so far to date of over £65,000 towards the refurbishment of the Theatre. 


Mike & Sally Beston are the owner / operators of the Snowdon Guest House 01983 862853 in Queens Road just five minutes walk away from Shanklin Theatre.