New display highlighting Angus amateur theatre marks archives' reopening

Cast members from a 1953 production of ‘The Mikado’ in Arbroath.Cast members from a 1953 production of ‘The Mikado’ in Arbroath.
Cast members from a 1953 production of ‘The Mikado’ in Arbroath.
The curtain is set to rise this week on a new display marking the reopening of Angus Archives to the public after its extended closure.

The archive, at Restenneth, near Forfar, has been closed to the public since the start of the pandemic last year and only opened for limited enquiries and research earlier this year.

The new exhibition, ‘Opening Night’, opens today (October 21) and will feature documents, objects and photographs recording some of the various theatres, operatic, dramatic and musical societies who have operated in Angus.

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Photographs of performances by Kirriemuir Amateur Operatic Society and Arbroath Amateur Operatic Society, along with show programmes from the Montrose Amateur Dramatic Society will be on view.

Also on display for the first time since their featured date, will be posters for productions of the 1876 show ‘Hamilton Corbett’ at the Reid Hall in Forfar and the 1819 production of ‘Macbeth’ at the Theatre Royal in Montrose, amongst others.

The theatre, opened on Bridge Street in 1814, is the only surviving Georgian theatre building in Angus.

On the October 1, 1819 it reopened as the Theatre Royal, at which time it under the ownership of James Anderson a nd managed by Corbet Ryder.

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The Theatre suffered changing fortunes and the last performance there is thought to have been in 1837.

Craig Pearson, Archives & Local History Lead with ANGUSalive said: “We’re delighted to be able to open our doors to the public once again and felt this display was the perfect way to celebrate the joy of welcoming our visitors back to Archives.

“Theatres have suffered a lot in the last 18 months, this display is a reminder of the local communities’ contribution to the arts in Angus over the last two centuries.”

There will also be an animation of historical images from throughout the Angus photograph and negative collections from various other societies and clubs across Angus.

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The display runs until January 31 next year and is free of charge. The archives are open to the public, by appointment only, Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Bookings can be made by contacting [email protected] or by calling 01307 468644.

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