The Queen Mother Theatre
The Queen Mother Theatre is a modern purpose – built theatre located on Walsworth Road in Hitchin Hertfordshire. Named for Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the theatre offers a varied programme of amateur productions. It is the home of the local performing group the Bancroft Players and the critically acclaimed Big Spirit Youth Theatre founded in 1984 which included the actor Ben Whishaw among its members.
In 1977 the Bancroft Players made plans for a purpose-built theatre in Hitchin and launched an appeal for £80,000 to begin work. At first the fundraising efforts were slow but by 1981 the group was able to make a start; however, the £8000 raised from the 1981-1982 season was insufficient to complete the build. In September 1982 the foundation stone was laid by Jimmy Hill, the President of the Appeal to raise the funds for the new theatre.
At the same ceremony local resident Richard Whitmore told the assembled crowd that Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who had connections with the area, had been approached for permission to name the theatre after her. It was suggested to her that the new theatre be named the Queen Elizabeth Theatre but instead she suggested the alternative name The Queen Mother Theatre. Thus the theatre has the distinction of being the United Kingdom’s only theatre to carry this name.
The theatre finally opened in 1983 with a production of A Man for All Seasons. Since then the theatre has been extended to include a larger foyer and a new workshop and studio, now named the Richard Whitmore Studio.
For more history on The Bancroft Players and to view our visual timeline visit History of The Bancroft Players.
Support The QMT
As a charity, financial support is vital to keep our theatre open, so please consider making a donation, but if that’s not an option for you and you’d still like to support us, we’d love to hear from you as we are always looking for volunteers.