A HISTORIC Isle of Wight village church has become the new home of a theatre company.
Thanks to a venture backed by the Chale Village Partnership, St Andrew’s Church, in Chale, has become the new base for Original Theatre.
Founded by Kevin Wilson a year ago, Original Theatre will use the church to host plays, rehearsals and theatre workshops — working with local people interested in developing skills or learning new ones, from acting and providing technical support to back stage assistance and front of house.
The historic church, approaching its 900th anniversary, will remain a place of worship.
The venture has been backed by its vicar, the Rev Helen O’Sullivan, and St Andrew’s Parochial Church Council.
Mrs O’Sullivan said: "We are so pleased to offer the church building in this way for the benefit of the whole community and we look forward to working with Original Theatre — making more of the church and preserving its place within the heart of the community and as a place of worship."
Mr Wilson said the aim was to provide a theatre to be proud of, to attract audiences and generate revenue to help protect and preserve the church.
"We have several plays in development and we hope to encourage people in Chale to get involved," said Mr Wilson.
"We are very much a theatre company for the whole Island, but we are proud of our roots in Chale.
"It is a huge step forward now we have been allowed to set up home in one of the Island’s most beautiful and atmospheric churches. It is certainly an original venue — the perfect place to stage the original, newly written plays in which we specialise."