The Haymarket

The Haymarket

The building which now houses The Haymarket opened in 1865 as the Corn Exchange for the town, and was bought by the Basingstoke Corporation in 1874. By 1910 it was being used as a roller skating rink.

In 1913 it was refitted and renamed The Grand Exchange Cinema, operating as both cinema and variety house.

In 1925 it was gutted by fire, which left only the external walls and roof girders standing. Having been rebuilt, it continued as a cinema until 1940. It was again refurbished by the Town Council and managed by first Stockley Theatres and then William Hammer Theatre Ltd.

In 1951 it was renamed the Haymarket Theatre and run by a non-profit making company. Local amateur companies used the building extensively, including the Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra, Basingstoke Choral Society, BATS and BAOS – all still performing today.

In 1974, Artistic Director Guy Slater formed the Horseshoe Theatre Company, a professional repertory and touring company. In 1986 this company combined with the company running the theatre and became based there.

In 1992 the building was again redeveloped, re-opening the following year.

In 2007 the theatre was closed and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council asked The Anvil Trust to take over the lease. After extensive refurbishment of the box office, bars and foyers, the building re-opened as The Haymarket in September 2007.