Foundation Trustees were very pleased to be able to underwrite the fundraising element of the new theatre by virtue of Gareth Quarry’s (68-77) primary donation and Brian Saville’s (40-48) generous legacy, alongside the many other donations that have been made by OBs, parents and friends of the school.

The theatre is located in the old Moravian Church on St Peter’s Street – St Luke’s. The new theatre was specifically designed to provide a facility for town use as well as school, in keeping with the School’s and Trust’s desire to work closely with the local community. To see work on the building actually begin, a full five years’ worth of planning after the original purchase from the Moravians by the Harpur Trust in 2008, was a wonderful and an exciting culmination of much hard work. 

We are enormously appreciative of the launch donation from Campaign Chairman, and Old Bedfordian, Gareth Quarry (68-77) which enabled the New Theatre project to get started.

“I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to play a leading role in the development of the new theatre for the school. Bedford School gave me not only a firm foundation for my future but also many happy memories. St Luke’s Church has played an important part in my life. My family were active members of the congregation, my father was the organist and indeed my brother and I were christened there. With this connection I feel passionately about this exciting project; a vibrant theatre will breathe life back into this wonderful historic building and give the school and local community a first class venue in which to come together.”

Gareth Quarry

The Quarry Theatre At St Luke’s

The name of Bedford School’s new theatre was unveiled as ‘The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s’. Read the press release here.

The official opening took place on 26th June 2015. Guests including Governors, Old Bedfordians and friends of the school, along with representatives of all the organisations involved in the fantastic development project joined together to celebrate the opening and watch a production of Shakespeare’s Henry V, and the Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Helen Nellis, congratulated the school on the wonderful new space. 

Visit the Quarry Theatre website

 

Creating the New Theatre

A competitive tendering process saw a local firm – SDC – awarded the contract; they worked with Project Managers Ainsleys and architect Tim Foster, of Foster Wilson Architects.

The historic Grade II former Moravian Chapel, constructed in 1865 and designed by renowned Bedford architect James Horsford, was transformed into a new 280-seat galleried courtyard theatre. Carefully balancing old and new, the modern theatre structure sits sympathetically alongside the original features.

“Working in our fantastic new theatre has been very exciting for everyone involved; the teaching staff, theatre team, pupils and the wider Bedford School community who have been involved in events, both as audience members and participants. What has been equally exciting has been the opportunity to engage with and involve the community of Bedford, something we aim to continue to develop in the future.”

Jules Crossley, Director of Theatre

New Spaces

Visitors to the theatre are welcomed into a new light and airy foyer area complete with front-of-house facilities and a flexible teaching and exhibition area. An impressive double-height rehearsal and teaching studio, together with modern staff offices, has been created in the Minister’s House. A contemporary extension around the Chapel Chancel completes the complex, offering a superb hospitality area opening out onto landscaped gardens.

Technical Development

The development involved the installation of innovative stage lighting, sound and studio systems to give both performers and audiences the very best theatre experience.

A Community Focus

With its position at the edge of the school estate and entrance on St Peter’s Road, the theatre is also perfectly positioned to open up the arts to the town. The stunning new facilities are available to charities, schools, groups and individuals from the town for productions, workshops and meetings.

  • A 287-seat galleried courtyard theatre
  • Light and airy foyer area for teaching and art exhibitions
  • Box office and modern staff offices
  • Large, double height rehearsal and teaching studio
  • State of the art sound, lighting and studio systems
  • Foyer bar opening out onto landscaped garden

Miss Gwendoline Gribble, a former Moravian member of St Luke’s, visited the New Theatre Project during its transformation and shared her memories:

 

Name your Seat

Bedford School Foundation is delighted to offer the opportunity to be part of the theatre by naming a seat. Your donation to the project will be acknowledged by the name(s) of your choice being inscribed on a seat plaque in the new auditorium.

“Naming a seat for a family member will be a wonderful way to give a lasting gift. And it is fantastic to know that I am also supporting the performing arts both at the school and for the town.”

James Godber, Current Parent and Old Bedfordian (82-87)

Naming a seat makes the perfect birthday, anniversary or wedding gift. It is a unique and personal way to mark a special occasion, remember a loved one, or celebrate someone dear. Colleagues, relatives or friends could club together to recognise someone special or record an individual’s association with the School.

Plaques can be engraved with the name(s) only, or prefixed by ‘Donated by’, ‘A gift for’ or ‘In memory of’, for a maximum of two people, or a family name, e.g. ‘The Smith Family’.

Click the link below to download the form to make a donation for your seat, and for more information.

Name your seat donation form