Montgomery history takes centre stage

For well over a century it has been Sheffield’s home to community theatre, gang shows, dancing school extravaganzas and concerts.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 12:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th June 2019, 1:13 pm
Montgomery Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield, 1962
Montgomery Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield, 1962

And now city centre theatre and arts centre The Montgomery is wanting people to share their memories of the great productions they have seen or been a part of.

There will be a rare chance for audience members to go behind the curtain and explore a fascinating backstage story of The Montgomery as the Surrey Street venue takes part in national Heritage Open Day on September 14 from 10am.

It will be an opportunity for people to delve into The Montgomery’s theatrical past and celebrate the acts and shows that have appeared on the much-loved city stage.

A fire engine attends the fire at the Montgomery Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield, May 4, 1971

But organisers are hoping that people with memories to share will come forward with their old photos and memorabilia for a special exhibition that will form the centrepiece of the Open Day event.

“The loose theme of this year’s Heritage Open Day is People Power,” said The Montgomery marketing and programming manager Rachel Jack.

“We want it to be a real celebration of the people of Sheffield and the many generations who have enjoyed the shows on our stage

“We have been here for over 130 years and in that time a whole history of popular culture has been on our stage.

Mr Don Semmens and Mrs Doreen Tebbet, members of the Woodseats Operatic Society, presenting a cheque for £231 on behalf of the society, the proceeds of a concert at the City Hall, to Mr C P Daniel, President of the Sheffield Christian Education Council, for the Montgomery Hall restoration fund which local society's have pledged to raise £4,000 towards the rebuilding of the Hall in Surrey Street, Sheffield, which was gutted by fire in May 1971. Picture date 14th July 1971

“We’re not just talking about the popular musicals that range from Gilbert and Sullivan to Broadway hits but also all the many decades of Gang Shows, dance school productions and many other forms of entertainment.

“Big local theatre companies like Manor Operatic Society have appeared on The Montgomery stage in the past so we’d love to hear from them and share their photos.

“But most of all we want this to be a celebration of the many different forms of entertainment and the many people who have appeared on our celebrated stage.”

The popular Surrey Street theatre and arts centre has been part of the fabric of city life since it first opened its doors more than 130 years ago.

Fire damage at the Montgomery Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield, May 1971

It survived both the Blitz and a devastating 1971 fire to become the home of many of Sheffield’s leading community theatre companies.

“Bring us your pictures, your programmes and even your old stage props and ticket stubs because we want this day to be a real celebration of The Montgomery’s place in Sheffield’s heart,” said Rachel.

“And from this exhibition we are hoping to build up our archive and provide a permanent record for future generations as they too enjoy The Montgomery and celebrate both its past and its future.”

Anybody who has items to place in the exhibition should contact Rachel as soon as possible on 0114 272 0455.

Fire damage at the Montgomery Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield, May 1971
Interior of the Montgomery Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield, 1962
Woodseats Musical Theatre Company's Montgomery Theatre production of Damask Rose
Woodseats Musical Theatre Company's 1952 production of Goodnight Vienna at the Montgomery Theatre, Sheffield
Montgomery Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield, March 11th 1986