Red brick building
Wikimedia Commons

Tyldesley Little Theatre is a small “back street” theatre in Lemon Street, Tyldesley, Greater Manchester, England. It is home to a local amateur dramatic society which mounted its first production at the theatre in 1921, and has been described as “one of the few remaining authentic back street theatres”.[1]


The building started life as Church House, built by subscription for the parish church in 1905. The colliery owner William Ramsden donated money and the Ormerods donated the site in Lemon Street; the foundation stone was laid by Ramsden’s son Joseph. The building cost about £1,800, equivalent to about £206,000 as at 2021,[a]Calculated using the retail price index.[2] and was opened by the millowner R. J. Clegg. Problems arose in 1925 when the vicar claimed the right to be a trustee, but after the Bishop of Manchester ruled against him in 1928, its connection to the parish church ceased, and the building’s management was transferred to an independent committee.[3]

Church House originally had gymnasium facilities,[3] and was used by groups from the local community, including from 1921 the local amateur dramatic society.[4]


The theatre’s stage has a prosceniumPart of a theatre stage in front of the curtain. arch and a combined seating capacity of 139, in ground-floor stalls and balcony.[5] The company produces a variety of plays and an annual traditional family pantomime. The society is a member of the Greater Manchester Drama Federation (GMDF),[6] the Bolton Amateur Theatre Society (BATS),[7] and is a registered charity run by volunteers.[4]

In 1957 the theatre produced the premiere of the comedy Sky’s the Limit, written by the Leigh playwright Arnold Helsby. The production was mounted again in September 2007, to celebrate the play’s 50th anniversary, when Helsby’s daughter Wendy, on a visit from the USA, attended the production.[8]

Tyldesley Little Theatre has twice received assistance from the waste company Viridor, which distributes grants from landfill tax credits. In 2009 the company’s grant paid for roof repairs and upgrades to technical equipment, and in 2010 grant aid worth £42,000 was used to create a basement refreshment/rehearsal area, improve the heating system and create storage space.[9] In 2010 Tyldesley Little Theatre won three awards out of seven nominations at the Greater Manchester Drama Federation (GMDF) awards ceremony,[10] and in July 2011 won five awards out of nine nominations at the GMDF award ceremony.[11]


a Calculated using the retail price index.[2]