Our Other Venues
In addition to The Auden Theatre we have a number of other venues within the Gresham’s School site.
Scruffs Shack Studio Theatre
Scruffs, fondly named after a previous member of staff, is a fully equipped black box studio space which is used for small scale, more intimate performances. It has some flexibility but the lighting grid is situated at the far end making it more suited to end on performances. With raked seating it can accommodate approximately 80 people, alternatively it can work in the round or traverse and being attached to Dave’s Diner can easily offer interval refreshments.
Scruffs is located close to the Administration block, adjoining Dave’s Diner and is accessible from the far corner of the Parade ground.
The Theatre in the Woods
Built in 1907 under the direction of innovative Headmaster George Howson, the Theatre in the Woods forms part of a longstanding tradition of Greshamian outdoor drama. Pupils performed almost exclusively Shakespeare in the early years, with the summer term production becoming a highly anticipated community event. Reviews of Gresham’s productions appeared regularly both in the local and national press.
The theatre was closed for a decade in 1940 with the school’s evacuation to Cornwall during the Second World War. In these years soldiers occupied the school and theatre was badly damaged in its new role as a base for hand grenade practice and a site for manoeuvring tanks. After nearly two years of restoration under the direction of Major Kerridge and Jumbo Burrough, the theatre reopened in 1950.
It is the venue for the School’s end of year Drama evening and Speech day as well as being used as a performance space in fine weather. Because of the beauty of the woodland setting also has been used as a summer wedding reception venue.
More recently it has become one of the regular venues for the annual Holt Festival, with several performances during Festival week as well as the finale event and has included appearances by many famous musicians and bands including 10cc, The Proclaimers, The Stranglers, Geno Washington and Steeleye Span.
The School Chapel
The School Chapel, designed by the Scottish architect Maxwell Ayrton, was built between 1912 and 1916, and is now a listed building.
Our own Chapel Choir sing regularly in the school Chapel but we also welcome visiting choirs such as Choir of St John’s College Cambridge and, in January 2016, the Singers of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain’s Fellowship Programme as part of the annual Subscription Concert series.
The Chapel at Gresham’s is used daily by pupils for prayer and school announcements. It is also used for large celebrations and commemorations by the wider community in Holt.
The Sports Hall
The Sports Hall, part of Gresham’s extensive sports facilities is also used annually as a venue for the School’s House Music Competition. Tickets for this event are available to parents and guardians of pupils by postal application. Occasionally the Sport Hall has hosted other events with audiences too large for the Auden and not suited to the Theatre in the Woods, for example a concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem.