Celebrating 100 years of entertainment at the Winding Wheel Theatre
A series of events and activities are planned to celebrate a century of entertainment at the Winding Wheel Theatre in September.
On Sunday 10 September from 7pm there will be a Centenary Gala Concert to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the building opening. This will feature performances from nine different local theatre schools, performing arts groups and theatre companies, and will be compered by Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist impressionist Tony Rudd, with a special guest appearance from comedy legend Bernie Clifton who lives locally.
From 11 September to 15 September there will be cinema screenings showing a film from each decade over the last 100 years to celebrate A Century of Cinema, since the building opened. These were selected through a public vote in June. Classic films being shown are Metropolis, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, The Bridge On The River Kwai, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, The Godfather, Chariots of Fire, The Full Monty, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Paddington.
There will also be a free exhibition with objects and photos telling the story of the last 100 years and exclusive tours of the building including the backstage areas.
Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “The Winding Wheel Theatre has a rich history in our town and residents of all ages will have fantastic memories of performances they have seen at the venue over the years. We’ve made sure there is something for everyone to enjoy and join in the centenary celebrations.”
Originally built in 1923 for the Chesterfield Picture House Company it was intended to be the most luxurious destination in the town. As well as a cinema the building also housed an elegant ballroom and silver service restaurant.
In 1937 it was renamed as the Odeon but maintained the lavish interiors. In the 1970s the Ballroom was used as a well-known disco venue.
The cinema closed in 1981 before being taken over by Chesterfield Borough Council and reopening as an entertainment venue in 1987. Since then, it has hosted live music, conferences, theatre productions and cinema screenings.
In March 2023 Chesterfield Civic Society installed a Blue Plaque on the Grade II listed building to mark its historical importance in the town.
Tickets for the Centenary Gala Concert are £19.20 and confirmed performers include Academy of Dance, Chesterfield Symphony Orchestra, Chesterfield Operatic Society, Chesterfield Studios, Diana Bradbury Theatre Dance School, Directions Theatre Arts, Gekkota Arts, Rumpus Theatre Company and Wise Owl Theatre Company.
Cinema performances are £5.20 per ticket but visitors can also book tickets for all centenary films for just £20.20. Tours of the building are free but must be pre-booked.
Tickets for the concert, cinema screenings and tours of the building can be booked on the Chesterfield Theatres website: www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk/100