The Abbey Theatre

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The Abbey Theatre

Built in 1967, the Abbey Theatre’s 230-seat auditorium and 70-80 seat studio theatre allow flexible year-round programming. It is home to:

  • The Company of Ten: St Albans’ main amateur dramatics group with over 400 members staging up to 10 productions each season. Newcomers are welcome to join for a small fee of £35/year
  • A youth theatre group: the Company of Teens (for 14-to-19-year-olds)
  • The Abbey Theatre Club: supporters receive a monthly newsletter and priority booking for a modest membership fee

Join the theatre’s free mailing list, view a seating plan and buy tickets online.

See below for Abbey Theatre event listings:

What's on at the Abbey Theatre

  • Cardboard Citizens

    7:30 PM

    As part of Squatlife, the acclaimed theatre company Cardboard Citizens presents a new play created and performed by St Albans’ homeless community. Using a style of theatre called Forum, it will ask you to take a look at St Albans through different eyes. Cardboard Citizens makes theatre which illuminates homelessness and the lives of homeless people. After watching the performance you’ll have the chance to voice your opinion and offer ideas that might change the course of the characters’ lives. Trespassers Welcome is made possible by sponsors and partners including 1Life, St Albans City & District Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Rumball Sedgwick, Arts Council England & Big Lottery.

    Ticket Info

    TICKETS FREE

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  • Theatre of Minds

    7:30 PM

    The all-female cast between the ages of 18 and 21 present a play comprising 33 interconnected scenes which tell stories of time and how a lack of it affects our emotions and relationships. Making a welcome return to the Abbey Theatre, this company was founded by two ex-Company of Teens actors. It donates the proceeds of its productions to a local youth mental health charity.

    Ticket Info

    TICKETS £9 CONCESSIONS £6

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  • Company of Ten

    8:00 PM

    Young Don Baker, who has been blind since birth, moves to Manhattan to pursue his dream of becoming a songwriter. When his over-protective mother comes to visit she meets his extrovert actress neighbour, Jill. Mother’s controlling instincts go into overdrive with hilarious results. This heart-warming comedy follows Don and Jill as they grow closer and try to justify their places in the world. The New York Times called it ‘a charming play… humorous and quietly moving’.

    Ticket Info

    TICKETS £12 CONCESSIONS £11

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  • Rogue Opera

    8:00 PM

    Carmen – fiery, daring and uncompromising – meets José, a soldier with a past. She seeks love and liberty whilst he’s torn between duty, desire and jealousy. Are they doomed by fate or by human nature? Rogue Opera presents a new, intimate production of Bizet’s classic opera, sung in French with piano and English surtitles.

    Ticket Info

    TICKETS £19.50

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  • Company of Ten

    8:00 PM

    The first of JB Priestley’s ‘Time Plays’, this beautifully written drama doesn’t date. A group of friends have dinner together, but a simple remark sets off a whole series of revelations about the characters and their fascinating relationships. The Guardian remarked that the play succeeds because it uses ‘a thriller format to explore the ever-pertinent question of how much truth we can take in our private lives’. Dame Judi Dench said more simply, ‘JB Priestley is one of our literary icons… and it is time that we all became re-acquainted with his genius.’

    Ticket Info

    TICKETS £12 CONCESSIONS £11

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  • St Albans Chamber Opera

    8:00 PM

    St Albans Chamber Opera presents a cornucopia of music and lyrics from these great ‘Savoyards’. The show features the SACO chorus and sundry soloists, ably accompanied at the pianoforte by Mr Julian Barber. The artistes will perform for your edification and delight excerpts from all the ‘Savoy’ collaborations of these distinctly British operettists.

    Ticket Info

    TICKETS £12

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  • Company of Ten

    8:00 PM

    Electra is awaiting her brother’s return from exile, but this is no eagerly anticipated family reunion. Orestes is coming to avenge the murder of their father Agamemnon by their mother and her lover, and to claim the throne of Mycenae for himself. As the New York Times says, ‘Sophocles’ Electra is one of dramatic literature’s most compelling studies of the extremes to which vengeance can lead.’ The Daily Telegraph described a recent production of Electra as ‘thrillingly unnerving’.

    Ticket Info

    TICKETS £12 CONCESSIONS £11

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  • Company of Ten

    2:30 PM

    Make your Christmas complete with a trip to Victorian London, home of old Ebenezer Scrooge. On a snowy Christmas Eve, three ghosts take Scrooge on a fantastic journey. By glimpsing his past, present and future, he learns to love Christmas and finally make friends with the kind people around him. Two months after Dickens’ story first appeared in 1843 eight rival versions appeared on the London stage and it’s been regularly adapted ever since. Our production for the whole family, adapted by Anthony Peters, proves that ‘there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.’

    Ticket Info

    TICKETS £12 CONCESSIONS £11; 13 and unders £6

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  • Company of Ten

    8:00 PM

    Ben Elton’s play, originally starring Dawn French, is laugh-out-loud at every turn. Doris Wallace has everything a tough tabloid columnist could want: a toy boy with a handy supply of drugs, a pretty PA who might share her libidinous preferences, and the prospect of her own TV show. But for some reason everything starts to go horribly wrong… The Stage called this ‘a cracker of a play’ while the Daily Mirror called it ‘crude, clever and killingly funny.’ Ben Elton is also behind comedy gems such as Blackadder, The Young Ones and, more recently, Upstart Crow.

    Ticket Info

    TICKETS £12 CONCESSIONS £11

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Overview

  • Dates and times: Box office: Mon-Sat 9.30am-12 noon
  • Hire information: Main theatre (230 seats), studio theatre (78 seats), club room and foyer available for hire. Licensed bar and beverage service provided. Contact the theatre manager to discuss further.

Address and Contact info

  • Address: Westminster Lodge, Holywell Hill
  • Town: St Albans
  • County: Herts
  • Postcode: AL1 2DL

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Reviews

The Colours of Kenny Roach by Rebecca Russell - review by herts critic

Kenny Roach is a highly talented artist beset by a serious alcohol addiction that threatens both his work and his marriage in this new play by Rebecca Russell. John Stenhouse as Kenny is highly believable, fleetingly charismatic, but increasingly angry, paranoid, threatening, jealous and delusional as his alcoholism takes hold. 'What is Art?' asks Kenny in the first of his art lectures with which the play opens, and for him it is clearly a baring of the soul, leaving him railing against uncomprehending critics ('I know I'm good, but I have to wait til they see it too') and the art world, but in particular his long-suffering wife.

Rebecca Russell elicits the audience's sympathy as Lisa, and her monologues are particularly moving, but the play itself is largely unrelenting, punctuated only by the occasional humorous note in Kenny's lectures and the excellent art of Clare McInnerny and Alice Moloney, cleverly built in to the set through multimedia projection. Lisa's role is a thankless one, dramatically, as she almost becomes a narrator, explaining Kenny's artistic insecurity, her collusion with his façade, and his ability to enter a 'private world' of drink. The music of The Smiths hardly lightens the tone either.

Clearly the story is an important one, and the play tackles ambitious and difficult themes as Kenny's drinking turns him into the two-headed monster in his wife Lisa's painting. The banal, repetitive, cyclical marital arguments that the addiction provokes ('it's just a few drinks with the lads... I can handle it') are laid bare, and violence - and the threat of it - are never far from the surface. Arguably, however, Kenny is not initially likeable enough in the first instance to hold the audience's affection, and the importance of his art is not fully revealed, which makes his moral descent and the loss of his muse harder to sympathise with. All in all, the dialogue is well written and well performed, and the play is capably directed with an even pace - affecting, tragic and occasionally inspiring. Verdict - Queen of Herts (3 out of 5) [Jun 10]

24 Jun 10
2010-06-24T09:58:18.0000000+01:00
3
The Abbey Theatre
Recommended - review by poodey

Another solid performance by the talented Company of Ten group. 'Taking Sides' is an investigation into art and politics in post-war Germany - sound heavy, but it's handled delicately with warm moments of humour. It's only on 'til Saturday 30th Jan so get in quick. [Jan 10]

25 Jan 10
2010-01-25T10:09:49.0000000+00:00
4
The Abbey Theatre

60%

User Rating: 3 out of 5  ( 2 reviews )

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