By Lynda Foy 

Volunteers are marking an important milestone in the history of a town’s theatre by selling T-shirts, bottles of wine and other memorabilia to highlight the Diamond  Jubilee of the Stables Theatre and Arts Centre in The Bourne, Hastings.

Stables theatre 1959

The 60th anniversary in June will also be celebrated by the Chicago Heights Drama Group staging The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, by John Bishop. The American theatre company and the Stables launched an exchange programme 20 years ago and, since then, they have visited each other several times.

With help from Dick Perkins, a member of the Hastings and District Theatre Guild, the Stables Trust Limited was founded to convert the building into a theatre. It was opened by Sir Ralph Richardson on June 16, 1959, and the building has been extensively expanded since then.

The 125-seat theatre, originally a stable block dating from 1746, was in danger of being demolished in the 1950s until the Old Hastings Preservation Society stepped in. With support from the Georgian Society, the building was listed for its historic and architectural value.

Diamond Jubilee events include a Jubilee service on June 30 at All Saints’ Church, Hastings Old Town, at 4pm and a Family Fun Day at the theatre on August 18 from 12.00pm to 3.00pm.

Stables theatre 2019

Gill Jenks, from the theatre’s wardrobe department, said: “If people become members then they get tickets at a reduced price. It is excellent value for theatre tickets and there is a very high standard of shows here.”

Veronica Sceal a box office worker, said:  “The theatre is now covering all aspects of performance. We have a lot of semi-professional people working here and the standard is very high. Owning our own theatre is a great advantage for us.”

For membership enquiries, to buy tickets and forthcoming events from the box office: 01424 423221 or

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.