Chorley Little Theatre reveals name change as part of a major rebranding project
Chorley's historic Little Theatre has voted to change its name after 60 years as part of a major rebranding project.
Chorley Little Theatre in Dole Lane held a secret ballot vote on Thursday (January 10) to decide whether to rebrand the 109-year-old institution.
The result of the secret vote has now been revealed with the announcement that the theatre will be known simply as Chorley Theatre from 2020.
Attendees at the special meeting were given the option of keeping the venue's current name or changing it to either Chorley Theatre or Chorley Empire Theatre.
Due to the secret nature of the ballot, the number of votes cast for each choice has not been made public.
But chairman Ian Robinson revealed that attendees "voted overwhelmingly to change the name of the venue".
He said: "The building will be called Chorley Theatre from 2020, after that option beat Chorley Empire Theatre and the current name.
"The vote was done in secret at a packed event, with 85 per cent voting for change.“Chorley Little Theatre is a great name and has served us well, but as we expand and face competition it’s time for a change.
"It was great to have so many people turn out for the vote, and now we will look at bringing in the new name while staying true to our heritage and ethos."Our name is boldly saying we are Chorley Theatre and we are here for the town and community.
“The important thing now is to concentrate on all the great shows we’ve got coming up in 2019 and plan for further ahead."
According to Mr Robinson, theatre president Lesley Duckworth - who has been involved in the theatre since its opening in 1960 - also spoke in favour of a name change last night.
Prior to the vote, Mr Robinson said: "People are very affectionate about the name, which we like and it has served us well, but Chorley has expanded so much in the last few years.
“When it was called ‘little’ in the 60s, there was a movement of little theatres – but people don’t know that anymore or understand what it means.
So it’s just looking at it from a 21st century perspective.”
The decision comes as the theatre – which also screens films – expects to face increased competition from the Reel Cinema which opens at the Mark Walk extension later this year.
Mr Robinson added: “With the new cinema opening in Chorley there will be increased competition and attention on the town centre.“But with the Market Walk development there’s going to be increased footfall; that’s something we have to take advantage of.”The new name will be introduced from 2020, by which time the venue hopes to have taken over the Hyatt (Indian restaurant) next door to run as an extra venue.
The expansion will provide the theatre, which currently seats 236 people, with an extra stage to support the development of local performers.
The Edwardian theatre opened as The Empire Picture House in 1910 before it closed as a cinema in 1958. CADOS bought the venue in 1959 and launched Chorley Little Theatre the following year.