Snibston is the permanent home of the Century Theatre, Britain’s oldest surviving mobile theatre.
Built between 1948 and 1952 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, this innovative structure provides an auditorium for 200 people and a full size stage, yet can be packed away into four articulated lorry trailers! The theatre was designed by John Ridley who used ingenious design, an aluminium superstructure and hydraulic rams, to create a professional-quality theatre building that could be folded up and moved by road.
Following its opening night in Hinckley in September 1952, the theatre toured Britain until 1974, remaining only a few weeks in each venue. From 1974 until 1997 the Century was used as the town theatre of Keswick in Cumbria, and then, thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it was saved from the scrapyard, refurbished and brought home to Leicestershire.
The theatre was run by its own company expressly created to take quality drama to communities throughout Britain and helped greatly with post-war cultural reconstruction. Many of the company’s actors and technicians went on from touring with the Century to make important contributions to theatre in Britain and abroad.
LinkThe theatre is the largest artefact within the collections of Heritage Services and is still used as an auditorium for Events including lectures, music and drama. If you have any memories or artefacts relating to the Century Theatre that you would like to share with us, please Contact Us. Guided tours can be arranged by booking in advance of your visit contact us for more information.
The Century Theatre has an extensive archive, which is held at the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland. To find out more about the archive please contact the Record Office directly.
Visit the Century Theatre Website for more details.
Page Last Updated: 13 May 2013