The Little Theatre has had several homes during its nearly one hundred years of existence. Founded in 1924, as the Dramatic Sub-Section of the Literary and Scientific Society, its first few productions were performed at the Co-operative Hall, in the centre of Hebden Bridge.
As the theatre grew in popularity, it was decided to move to the newly opened Picture House, a more spacious and luxurious venue, for two years, from 1928-1929. 1930 saw a brief return to the Co-operative Hall.
The Little Theatre then set up home in the Hebden Bridge Band Pavilion, on Calder Holmes Park, for several years.
The Band Room had no stage or seating, so the stage had to be constructed the week before each production, and nearly 200 chairs had to be carried from the Grammar School (now Riverside) across the canal bridge to the band room each night, and returned after each performance.
By this time the Little Theatre was attracting huge audiences. For example, 3,100 people attended the ten performances of Daughters are Dutiful, in 1934.
In 1937, a proper theatre was created in the Ground Floor of the Trades Club, where a permanent stage and raked auditorium were constructed. For forty years, from 1937-1977, the theatre enjoyed a period of sustained success, with shows playing to full houses. The Gioconda Smile, in November 1950, for example, played to a capacity audience of 2,700, over its nine performances.
In 1977, the theatre was obliged to move from the Trades Club, and within a few short years came to rest in its current home, adjacent to the Ground Floor, initially in a converted coach garage, then eventually in our present, purpose-built theatre.
To date, the theatre has produced a total of 395 full-length plays. The only breaks in Little Theatre activity were in 1992, when all efforts were focused on building the new theatre, prior to reopening in 1993, and during the current Covid crisis, which stopped all theatre activities dead in March 2020.
The theatre has assembled an extensive digital archive, charting the theatre’s history, which can be viewed on the Little Theatre website, www.hblt.co.uk/timeline.