Historian produces book to help Weston theatre during its closure

John Crockford-Hawley has written a book on the Blakehay Theatre. Picture: Sally Heath

John Crockford-Hawley has written a book on the Blakehay Theatre. Picture: Sally Heath - Credit: Archant

A local historian has completed a limited edition book to help a Weston theatre.

John Crockford-Hawley has created the book for the Blakehay Theatre, which is closed due to coronavirus.

At a time when the theatre would usually be open and giving guests a peek behind the scenes for the Heritage Open Days, the book tells the journey of the town centre building from its beginnings in 1850 to being awarded best evening out in 2020.

The book details how the building was built and its original purpose in Wadham Street, through struggling times and expansions to disaster and rebirth.

The book is in full colour with pictures which have been meticulously researched after many of the historical documents were lost during World War Two.


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Cllr Crockford-Hawley’s donation of time and money means all of the proceeds from the sale will go to help the theatre.

The Blakehay closed its doors on March 17 due to the pandemic and with no guidance on when it will reopen for live theatre.

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The theatre’s diverse program of locally produced and touring work is curated for the Weston audience and visitors.

In the future, bosses want to create an inclusive creative community to make the most of the venue by using all of its spaces for artistic endorsers.

Staff hope to open as soon as it is possible, but in the meantime they are looking to use the money to buy equipment to bring theatre out of the building.

John, as well as being a North Somerset and Weston town councillor, and a Mercury guest feature writer, is also in much demand as a speaker throughout Somerset.

After almost half a year without meetings, many local societies are making arrangements to start socially distanced autumn programmes.

The book is on sale in the shop at the theatre’s sister site, Weston Museum in Burlington Street, for £2. The museum is open Thursday to Saturday from noon to 4pm.

Alternatively it can be purchased online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/blakehaytheatre/t-qpperr or through the theatre’s website www.blakehaytheatre.co.uk for delivery or click and collect from Weston Museum.

Alternatively, contact the theatre’s box office by emailing blakehay@wsm-tc.gov.uk

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