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Twentieth Century


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A letter in the Dartford Chronicle of 26 November 1901 called for the establishment of a proper theatre in the town. It was not until 1947 that this was achieved with the adaptation of the Scala Cinema (at the junction of Kent and Essex roads) as a theatre able to host a wide range of stage plays performed by touring companies. The theatre survived intact until 1963.

Orchard theatre
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Dartford's £5m Orchard Theatre opened in September 1982. The project to build this showpiece theatre was conceived and funded by Dartford Borough Council. The Orchard's horseshoe-shaped auditorium provided seating in two tiers for 912 people. Designed to incorporate the very latest technology, the theatre had many adaptable design features, which enabled it to house a variety of different events and meet many artistic requirements. The theatre was designed with an adaptable proscenium arch and an acoustic ceiling which could cater for the different sound requirements of music, drama and conferences. The Orchard, under administrator Charles Bishop, achieved a first-class reputation for hosting a dazzling array of entertainment. It captured and presented the very best in touring ballet and opera, as well as stage plays, musicals and cinema. In addition, The Orchard was able to host sporting events, exhibitions and conferences.

One of Dartford's lesser known twentieth century theatres was the Miskin Theatre based at the College of Technology in Miskin Road. This theatre, part of the College's Performing Arts Faculty, was able to seat an audience of 220. The Miskin Theatre produced about eight of its own productions a year matched with a policy of trying new and experimental work.

See also: themickjaggercentre


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