About the site and the author

This site is dedicated to the book A THEATRE FOR ALL SEASONS, The History of the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham by Michael Hasted

The Opera House in Cheltenham’s Regent Street opened on 1st October 1891 with a performance of Lady Clancarty starring Lillie Langtry. The theatre was designed by one of the greatest theatre architects of all times, Frank Matcham, who designed nearly 200 theatres in Great Britain including the London Palladium. Over the next seventy years The Opera House was to play host to some of the greatest names in British theatre and variety.

The theatre survived imminent closure in 1959 to rise from the ashes as the re-named Everyman Theatre in 1960. For the next 35 years it was the home of repertory, nurturing such talents as Steven Berkoff, Josephine Tewson, William Gaunt and Penelope Keith.

When the rep ended in 1995 the theatre reverted to being a venue for touring shows and has presented some of the best pre and post West End plays and musicals ever since.

Based largely on the reminiscences of actors, directors and other members of staff who worked at the theatre as far back as the 1920s, A Theatre for all Seasons tells the story of the good times and bad, of the financial problems that nearly closed the theatre on several occasions, the ghosts and the personalities of a typical British provincial theatre.

Michael Hasted first worked back-stage at the Everyman in 1961 while still at school. He left home aged 16 and, being too young to get a grant to take up the place he had been offered at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, worked in rep theatres around the country for several years including Cheltenham, Lincoln, Hornchurch, Dundee and the Traverse in Edinburgh. He later became involved in the visual arts and exhibited in galleries around the world. His work is in public collections in England, France, Greece and the USA. From 1985 he lived in France, firstly in Strasbourg and then running The English Bookshop in the book village of Montolieu, near Carcassonne. During that time he produced and presented concerts and poetry readings for British expats in south west France. Returning to England in 2003, and settling in Cheltenham, he again became involved with the Everyman. In addition to this book, he wrote and directed the revue Final Daze which was the last show in the theatre before it closed for restoration in May 2011. He has also written publicity and information material as well as programme notes for the theatre. He is currently writing a book based on the reminiscences of actors who worked in British theatre in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Contact Michael Hasted

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