Ten years ago, Thursday April 7th marked an unforgettable and intimate evening of celebration, as BAFTA and Olivier Award nominated, actor and theatre director, Sam West (Notting Hill, Howards End, Midsomer Murders, Waking the Dead, Hamlet at the RSC) officially opened The Berry Theatre to a full-house.
Today, just over a year after closing our doors in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we quietly celebrate our tenth birthday and look forward to reopening later this year and welcoming our audiences back into this special building.
We reflect on the particularly poignant messages within Sam West's rousing opening speech and can't wait to share the power of live, shared experiences soon:
theatres are not buildings, they are people. A congregation. A crowd.
"I want to talk a bit about that congregation tonight and why I think the theatre does it so well. It’s very easy nowadays to do things in our own little boxes. To shop, travel to work, eat and entertain ourselves without ever really meeting or interacting with other people. But in the theatre, we do things together."
"...we love it [theatre] because it’s live, we love it because it’s real, we love it because it’s communal and we love it because it can blow our heads off. But what theatre does better than any of these things is to nurture our imagination. It gives us empathy."
Let the thousands who will fill it over the years find joy here, for as long as its walls reverberate to tears, cheers laughter and applause.