Sunday, 23 November 2008

Genesian Theatre

The Genesian Theatre is another building I've walked past hundreds of time and never had any idea what was inside. I always imaged it was a very basic theatre, single level with floorboards and a raised stage at the far end. How wrong I was. Its a lovely, intimate theatre with stalls and a dress circle and a proper stage and small dressing room area.
The Church of St John the Evangelist was conceived by Archdeacon McEnroe who purchased the site in 1856 and build a small church and school. In 1868 it was blessed and opened by Archbishop Polding. A gradual fall in parishioners due to the expansion of residential areas out of the city resulted in its closure as a church and school in 1927.

Since then it has been used as a warehouse and a soup kitchen, and has housed the Kursaal Theatre and Matthew Talbot Hostel, before it was ten up by the Genesian Theatre Company in 1953. The Genesian Players, a dramatic department of the Catholic Youth Organisation, arranged the conversion of the site to a theatre and performed their opening play there in April 1954.

The small church is designed in a simplified Victorian Free Gothic style and features brick buttresses, sandstone detailing, three large windows and a small rose window.

1 comment:

Julie said...

This was closed for a rehearsal by the time we got there on our schedule