THEATRE fanatics have launched an urgent appeal to find a new home for their set production workshop after being told to vacate.

The Woodley Theatre group has been entertaining the public for more than 70 years, but the dedicated team recently received a notice period for their 'grotto' on Headley Road due to future housing developments.

Without a place to build the sets, it is feared that the quality of future productions could be severely limited, with the possibility of having to stop putting on shows until a new headquarters is found.

Productions are currently staged at The Oakwood Centre, with box office figures continuing to soar every year, but members of Woodley Theatre are concerned about what the future may hold.

Merry Evans, chairperson, said: "More than just a storage facility, this unit is a second home to these dedicated and skillful volunteers who meet weekly to design and build the imaginative sets that are transferred to the stage.

"If we have nowhere to build or set up our equipment then we would be very limited in what we could achieve.

"We are renowned for putting on quality shows and without a workshop we would not be able to deliver this. Without that facility we might not be able to carry on.

"We know we will have to pay rent, but we are not able to afford enormous rates. It is important that we continue to run, as we play a big part in the local community and work closely with schools to tailor our productions.

"Our present facility can’t be saved, but we would love to know from anyone who can help us find another home."

An emergency meeting was called to find a new space in time for the end of June, with several small businesses also being booted out.

The cost of producing the sets is funded largely by profits from previous shows and Woodley Theatre also helps to raise funds for rotary clubs and the annual carnival.

Materials are often recycled to make the most of limited funds and a number of schoolchildren take part in the productions.

Contact: if you are able to help with the appeal.