8th November 1972
The Little Theatre was reprieved… for a while
Just over a decade after the Sarnia Theatre company had celebrated it most profitable ever year, its premises were under threat. The Little Theatre in St Peter Port suddenly – and unexpectedly – closed its doors in October 1972 when its roof timbers were found to be unsafe.
This put in jeopardy a plan for the States of Guernsey to buy the theatre, which had been priced at £17,000. By the early 1970s, the non-profit company that ran it was facing serious losses and the theatre was relying on guarantees against those losses from the States.
Its closure was a blow for Guernsey, which had no other theatre to turn to – at least until the completion of Beau Sejour three years later.
A new hope
However, by 8 November it looked like a saviour might have been found. To save the States itself from buying the theatre, an unnamed investor said they would buy it and rent it to the States instead.
The States showed some interest, but only so long as it wasn’t responsible for repairing the roof. The cost of this was projected to be around 40% of the asking price of the whole building.
A new season
The States of Guernsey Recreation Committee placed an advert in the 13 September 1973 issue of The Stage inviting “offers for the presentation of summer productions at the Little Theatre, Guernsey (seating capacity 528), either for the season or for short runs”.
However, the building that housed the Little Theatre is no more. In March 1984 it was destroyed by fire, along with the nightclub downstairs. The only theatre on Guernsey now is the 400-seat auditorium at Beau Sejour which, despite the centre’s size, seats fewer than the “Little” Theatre could have managed.