The Library Theatre is located at the Central Library, with its entrance off Tudor Square, near the Lyceum Theatre.

Background

Innovative, diverse and unique, the Library Theatre in the heart of Sheffield’s theatre land, is all of those and more!

Our art deco 260 seat venue sits just behind the Central Library, in the heart of Tudor Square and complements our larger neighbours with an eclectic mix of traditional and ‘leftfield’ events.

We offer everything, including: drama, wrestling, variety, burlesque, contemporary dance, world music and film screenings. We are also delighted to be a host venue for major city events, DocFest and Tramlines.

Our commitment to supporting the local theatre, arts, music and film scene and to providing an affordable venue is great news for both audiences and performers and guarantees a really unique line-up. We hope to see you soon!

Wheelchair access

On the advice of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service we are no longer able to offer wheelchair access to the Library Theatre. If you have any other mobility problems and are unsure whether you would be able to access the venue, please contact the Library Theatre.

Hire the Library Theatre

If you’re looking for a city centre venue for your theatrical production, musical event, meeting or presentation, the Library Theatre could be just what you’re looking for.

The Library Theatre is available for hire Monday to Sunday, all year round.

Hire the Theatre, subject to the following conditions, that you:

  • are not in debt to us at the time of the hire
  • are over 16
  • sign a Hire Form to agree to the Conditions of Letting (please see below)
  • pay a deposit of 10% of the total Hire Fee (with the remaining balance invoiced after the hire period is finished)

History of the Library Theatre

The Library Theatre was originally designed as a lecture hall when the Central Library was built in 1934, with permission to host private performances for non- paying audiences.

More about our history

First Performances

The first drama performance came in November 1934 as the Sheffield Playgoers Society presented “See Naples and Die”. The application of the Income Tax Acts meant that performances for which an admission fee was charged could no longer be held, meaning that during the hall’s early years, drama productions were largely limited to student productions before invited audiences.

During the War

During the war it was used as an air raid shelter and for the showing of Ministry of Information films. It was not until the Income Tax position changed in 1947 that the hall was provided with dressing rooms and improved stage lighting after which amateur productions were offered on a regular basis in the renamed Library Theatre.

1950s

1950 saw the installation of dual-arc projectors and the commencement of City Libraries’ Film Weeks showcasing foreign films and films based on classical books. 1953 saw the Sheffield Repertory Company take up temporary residence in the Library Theatre as the Playhouse was being reconstructed, and also saw the Library Theatre used as the venue for the first ever television broadcast from Sheffield – a programme entitled “Public Enquiry”.

1960s

In 1961 significant changes were made to the Theatre. The electrical equipment was improved, the stage was made larger, a proscenium arch was introduced, the auditorium was more steeply raked and a foyer was introduced. This made the venue more suitable for theatre use but saw the capacity drop from 400 to 264. The theatre was reopened in December 1961 by the Sheffield and District Amateur Theatrical Association’s production of “The Sleeping Prince” by Terence Rattigan.

Activities at the Theatre

Although there has been a common belief that the Library Theatre is the home of amateur theatre in the city it has, in fact, hosted many other activities. These include film, dance, folk music, popular music, classical music, rock bands, circus, magic shows, literature events, stand-up comedy, children’s shows, pantomime, variety shows, burlesque, lectures, demonstrations and meetings.