Joseph Rowntree Theatre
Joseph Rowntree Theatre was designed by the architect Barry Parker (who also designed part of New Earswick), and built in 1935. Peter Rowntree was one of the Trustees of the firm responsible for its construction and is understood to have spent much time and care in making it one of the most up-to-date halls in the country (source: CWM: Christmas 1935).
It was opened on Monday 18th November 1935 by Seebohm Rowntree, then Chairman of the Rowntree & Co Limited, with the aim of: ‘providing a hall which may be a fitting centre for those recreational and educational activities which make for a full and happy life’.
It was then known as The Joseph Rowntree Hall, but renamed as The Joseph Rowntree Theatre in 1946. It was built at a total cost of £12,000, which was provided by the Joseph Rowntree Village Trustees. Simple architectural features, combined with a warm colour scheme and hidden lighting, were designed to give an intimate and welcoming atmosphere to the 450-seat auditorium . The hall was equipped with the most up to date acoustics, lighting and heating system and a magnificent curved cyclorama. The stage was designed to accommodate a sixteen-piece orchestra.
Apart from a period during Second World War, when the building was used for war work, the theatre has been in constant use for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.