The building is a 200 year-old ‘Grade 2 listed’ structure originally built as a Catholic Chapel. In the nineteenth century it was a Protestant place of worship. During World War 2 it was used by Air Raid Wardens and others, and was then taken over by The People’s Mission until 1998. It then became derelict until 2004.
It is now owned by the Bath & North East Somerset Council, which has granted Next Stage Theatre Company a lease to occupy and use the building as a theatre, arts centre and multi-purpose facility for community activities.
The Mission Theatre comprises a large well-equipped Main Auditorium suitable for end-on, thrust or in-the-round productions for up to 100 audience members. At the rear of the theatre is a two-storey structure called The Capsule which houses dressing room and backstage space.
On the first floor of the main building there is a small theatre (The Theatre Upstairs) and a Bistro – The Green Room – open 10.30-2.30 Tuesdays to Fridays. There is also a fully licensed bar. The Bistro and bar are also open evenings and weekends if there are events at the theatre and audiences can enjoy drinks and light snacks.
Next Stage Take Over
On 8 November 2004, the City of Bath added to its already rich cultural heritage when Next Stage Theatre Company took possession of “The People’s Mission’, soon to be transformed into The Mission Theatre.
After an extensive programme of renovations, the building now houses a 100-seat auditorium (The Main Auditorium), a smaller 50-seat performing space (the Theatre Upstairs), and a Bistro with full Bar Licence. Also included is access and toilet facilities for disabled persons.
The Mission Theatre is now a vibrant and busy venue for all manner of events such as plays, rehearsals, workshops, youth groups, educational initiatives, live music, film shows, arts festivals, business meetings and conventions.
Ann Garner, Artistic Director, writes: “It is amazing to think that it took three and a half years’ work from when Andrew Ellison and I first saw the Mission and realised its potential to the completion of the contract on 8 November 2004.”
She adds: “Given the time-consuming complexities of the final legal drafts, we were extremely grateful to the Council that we had been allowed to begin a transfer of props and costumes to our new home from September. Many Next Stagers gave up hours in evenings and weekends to sort, store, box and transport to The Mission the paraphernalia associated with running a theatre company. Those same people then worked with enthusiasm and speed to transform the building in to a working theatre”.
32 Corn Street
Bath BA1 1UF
Tel: 01225 428600