The Oast Theatre
|Owner||Tonbridge Theatre and Arts Club|
|Official website for The Oast Theatre|
The Oast Theatre is situated on the outskirts of Tonbridge, Kent. It is a small theatre that is based in an old oast house. It is home to the Tonbridge Theatre and Arts Club. The theatre seats 112 people.
Tonbridge Theatre and Arts Club (TTAC) was based at The Mitre PH, Hadlow Road, Tonbridge. In the late 1960s, it was apparent that the venue was too small and an alternative was sought. The search led to a disused oast house,which had been used to dry hops until 1966. The oast was purchased for £7,000 by a consortium of ten members of TTAC, who sold it on to TTAC for £6,000. The Oast Theatre was opened on 20 April 1974 by Lady Rupert Nevill. The opening production was an adaptation of Tom Jones . By 1978, TTAC had paid off all loans taken out to purchase and convert the oast.
In 1982, the Oast Theatre was awarded Civic Design Award from Tonbridge Civic Society.The theatre is a registered charity, the Tonbridge Theatre and Arts Club. In 1988, an extension was built on the side of the oast. The adjoining barn was purchased and converted for use as storage and workshops. The extension was opened by Prince Edward, who attended a performance of Children of a Lesser God. A further extension in 1997 provided improved dressing room and additional storage facilities. The theatre can seat 112 people. In January 2010, the theatre was granted planning permission for an extension of an ancillary storage building. The planning application was supported by The Theatres Trust.
The Oast Theatre is home to the Oast Youth Theatre. Its members are between 13 and 18 years old. They produce three plays per annum.
The Oast Theatre has its own art group, which meets weekly.The theatre plays host to an annual art exhibition held in the Janet Young Room. The exhibition normally attracts about fifty artists and one hundred and fifty exhibits of extremely high quality.
Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.
Tonbridge is a market town in Kent, England, on the River Medway, 4 miles (6 km) north of Royal Tunbridge Wells, 12 miles (19 km) south west of Maidstone and 29 miles (47 km) south east of London. In the administrative borough of Tonbridge and Malling, it had an estimated population of 41,293 in 2018.
Royal Tunbridge Wells, previously just Tunbridge Wells, is a town in western Kent, England, 30 miles (48 km) south-east of central London, close to the border with East Sussex upon the northern edge of the High Weald, whose sandstone geology is exemplified by the rock formations at the Wellington Rocks and High Rocks. The town came into being as a spa in the Restoration and enjoyed its heyday as a fashionable resort in the mid-1700s under Beau Nash when the Pantiles, and its chalybeate spring, attracted significant numbers of visitors who wished to take the waters. Though its popularity as a spa town waned with the advent of sea bathing, the town remains highly popular and derives some 30 per cent of its income from the tourist industry.
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An oast, oast house or hop kiln is a building designed for kilning (drying) hops as part of the brewing process. They can be found in most hop-growing areas and are often good examples of vernacular architecture. Many redundant oasts have been converted into houses. The names oast and oast house are used interchangeably in Kent and Sussex. In Surrey, Hampshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire they are called hop kilns.
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A hopper hut was a form of temporary accommodation provided for hop-pickers on English farms in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Somerhill House is a Grade I listed Jacobean mansion situated near Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom. It was built for The 4th Earl of Clanricarde in 1611–13. The estate was sequestrated by Parliament in 1645, and restored to its rightful owner in 1660. The building had become derelict by the mid-eighteenth century but was later restored. Somerhill was painted by Turner in 1811. It was bought by a member of the Goldsmid family in 1849 and greatly extended between 1879 and 1897, making it the second largest house in Kent, after Knole House, Sevenoaks.
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