The Technical Bits
BLT is in a fairly unique position within the UK’s amateur theatre world, in that it has its own fully-equipped theatre complete with sound and lighting systems. Add to this the versatile staging area, a 113-seat / 12-row auditorium (with flip-up West End-style seating), and you will find yourself left with an extremely wide scope for performing a variety of events and productions. The lighting system consists of 8 dimmer units each with 6/12 outlets. These connect to a patch board containing 84 circuits which supply the lighting points on lighting bars in front and above the stage. Control for these is from computer lighting desks. Music and sound effects are controlled from the sound box, which contains mixers, CD and Mini-Disc players. From here, sounds and effects can be played to all parts of the stage, auditorium and the rest of the theatre. The sound box also controls the Audio-Loop for people using hearing aids.
The forerunner to our theatre – as we know it today – was the Bromley Little Theatre Movement which was started in 1934 by H.Wilson Pook.
In 1935, Mr Pook took a lease on the then derelict and vacant Victorian ex-Co-operative Bakery in North Street. As he recalls:
“I took a lease and designed the conversion. The old Alhambra Theatre in Leicester Square was being demolished and I bought some of the tip-up seats which were proudly installed in their very red plush glory. By 1937, the Bromley Little was up and running. I had my Theatre.”
Not long after this, Mr Pook relinquished the running of his beloved theatre to the hands of Colonel John Leather and his wife, Betty, known professionally as Bett Pinchard.
They brought to Bromley Little many of the disciplines and high standards they had acquired in their professional life. The Theatre continued to run plays at the outbreak of World War II, but the blitz and the call-up of members to the Services did mean the theatre was dark for most of the war years.
From 1946 to 1965, John Leather presented plays of a very high standard and wide variety.
In 1954, the stage was extended to its present size and the number of seats in the auditorium was extended to 113, the number we have today
In 1961, a professional company, run by David Korda, nephew of Sir Alexander Korda, appeared at the Little Theatre, featuring Prunella Scales, Jeremy Brett, Windsor Davies, Eileen Atkins and June Brown (later to play Dot Cotton in Eastenders).
Also in 1960, our President, Michael York OBE, appeared in My Three Angels with Adrian Brine (who also went on to become a professional actor and director). We are proud that many other actors and directors have gone on to achieve great success in the professional theatre.
Until January 2021, the theatre actually comprised of Bromley Little Theatre Ltd (‘BLT Ltd’) and Bromley Little Theatre Playgoers’ Club (“Playgoers’ ”), the latter being a membership Club open to all. At that time the Board of BLT Ltd completed long held plans to transfer all the activities of the Playgoers’ Club to BLT Ltd in order to rationalise the functioning of the theatre. All Members of the Playgoers’ Club became Associate members of BLT Ltd.
The BLT Ltd Board is responsible for the general running of the theatre and for the artistic standards.
BLT receives no external financial support and derives its income solely from membership fees and profits from productions, bar and tea bar.