Chapel-en-le-Frith’s new-look Playhouse theatre set to turn heads

A scene from Talking Heads at Chapel Playhouse.
A scene from Talking Heads at Chapel Playhouse.

Chapel-en-le-Frith’s Playhouse is set to turn heads as it unveils a new look next week.

Following a major fundraising drive, the Eccles Road venue has been brought up to date during the summer with extensive improvements, ready to host a new production of two of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues.

The work, which has included a revamped bar and new toilet facilities and heating system, prevented the staging of a large-scale October production, making Talking Heads the ideal vehicle.

With one actor for each story and minimal staging, rehearsals could take place elsewhere until the Playhouse was available once more.

Director Stephen Kettle said: “Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t a budget production. The staging may be minimal but instead we have gone for maximum dramatic impact.”

In ‘A Lady of Letters’, lonely spinster Irene Ruddock (Helen Bates) fills her days writing letters to all and sundry in the mistaken belief she is doing good. Yet her attempts to help are often unwelcome and misjudged.

Ultimately Irene will find her happy ending, but in a place and manner you would least expect.

‘Bed Among the Lentils’ features Susan (Becky Simpson) as a vicar’s wife who has failed to become the upstanding Anglican lady she once aspired to be.

Losing faith in her marriage and her religion, she turns to a different source of comfort to fill the void in her life. Although a saviour comes to her rescue, Susan finds redemption can come at a price.

Stephen added: “Originally portrayed on TV by Maggie Smith and Patricia Routledge, we have worked hard to create our own interpretation of each character.

“The timing was perfect. Building on the success of the thriller Blood Money in May, I wanted to challenge our audiences and actors with a new genre.”

Talking Heads will be performed at the Playhouse on November 17 and 18, at 7.45pm.

Tickets, priced £8 and £6, are available from Hall’s Mica Hardware or on the door.