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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

  • Company of Ten Main Stage

    7:30 PM

    Synopsis 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.’ A note on parking, if you’re visiting us before December 22nd: There’s a large Christmas Festival taking place on the Meadows opposite Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre until December 22nd. The public car parks will be extremely busy so please leave plenty of time to find a space. There’ll be a limited number of spaces for our customers, so we strongly recommend that if you’re collecting your tickets from the Box Office,  do so before the date of your booking. When you visit, show these to the Meraki marshals who will direct you to the nearest available space. These spaces will be available on a first-come first-served basis. You can also show the marshals your [email protected] tickets, if that’s the option you’ve chosen.

    Ticket Info

    £12, £11, £6

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  • St Albans Jazz Ensemble Main Stage

    8:00 PM

    Synopsis If you love jazz, blues and swing, join this youthful ensemble for an entertaining evening of original arrangements and popular classics.

    Ticket Info

    £10

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  • Company of Ten Studio

    8:00 PM

    Synopsis 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

    £12, £11

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  • Company of Ten Main Stage

    8:00 PM

    Synopsis Beautiful Thing is a gentle and hugely optimistic play. Teenagers Ste and Jamie are next door neighbours on the Thamesmead Estate in south London: Jamie is being bullied at school, and Ste is being bullied at home. When it all gets too much Ste seeks refuge at Jamie’s and their awkward but joyous relationship develops. Underscored by a Mama Cass soundtrack, this play perfectly captures the wonder of first love. The Guardian called it ‘Deliciously upbeat… Seldom has there been a play which so exquisitely and joyously depicts what it’s like to be sixteen. Truly a most unusual and beautiful thing.’ This play contains mature language.

    Ticket Info

    £12, £11

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  • Company of Ten Studio

    8:00 PM

    Synopsis Bingo cunningly weaves together historical fact and drama. Subtitled Scenes of Money and Death, the play uses the last days of William Shakespeare to discuss art and capitalism, and accuses both of vile inhumanity. ‘Bond’s play has achieved the status of a modern classic,’ said the Guardian. The Express called it ‘tremendous… provocative and engaging’.

    Ticket Info

    £12, £11

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  • Company of Ten Main Stage

    8:00 PM

    Synopsis Touching, funny and bold, Things I Know to be True tells the story of a family through the eyes of four grown-up siblings. The play explores themes such as travel, rootedness, filial duty and the danger of unarticulated emotions. The Stage called it ‘beautiful and devastating’ while The Telegraph said it was ‘an articulate, poetic and poignant drama.’ Writer Andrew Bovell is arguably best known for writing the films Lantana and (with Baz Luhrman) Strictly Ballroom.

    Ticket Info

    £12, £11

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  • Company of Ten Main Stage

    8:00 PM

    Synopsis The holy absorbing story of the struggle of Ben-Hur played at breakneck speed with sincerity and conviction by four actors. Scenes include the chariot race, a sea battle with chained galley slaves and real water, and a frenzied Roman orgy. Actual miracles are performed live on stage. The Evening Standard said, ‘Patrick Barlow’s small-scale take on this epic tale is a palpable hit.’ For the Daily Telegraph, it was simply ‘very funny’. The Guardian admired the ‘sight gags, prop gags, backstage rivalry gags, collapsing scenery gags… No meta-theatrical joke is safe.’

    Ticket Info

    £12, £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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