Church purchase for performance space would be ‘fitting’ way to mark Harleston Players’ 90th anniversary

Harleston United Reformed Church
Harleston United Reformed Church

A long-established drama group in Harleston is hoping to cap their 90th anniversary by purchasing the town’s United Reformed Church

The church will go under the hammer on March 1, and is currently listed with Durrants, with a guide price of £75,000 to £125,000.

This would be so fitting for Harleston Players as it’s our 90th anniversary this year and it would be terrible if this lovely building was lost to the town and redeveloped as a house or carpet warehouse

Cathy Gill, chair, Harleston Players

And the Harleston Players are in the process of putting together a bid to buy the building and run it as a permanent performance space.

The church also features a large hall, which the group hope to rent out to other societies.

The church was first built in 1706, but extended and virtually rebuilt in 1879.

Cathy Gill, the Players’ Chair said: “This is a fabulous one-off opportunity to create a performance space in the middle of town.

“We would need to make some internal changes to create a stage but without changing the character of the building. We would also renovate the hall at the rear for other uses.

“The problem is of course raising enough money to make this happen.”

The group is now asking for financial help from residents and supporters. This would add sufficient cash to their own retained funds, and the balance would be raised with a loan.

“This would be so fitting for Harleston Players as it’s our 90th anniversary this year and it would be terrible if this lovely building was lost to the town and redeveloped as a house or carpet warehouse,” added Miss Gill.

“We are heartened by South Norfolk Planners who have deemed a change of use to residential or commercial as inappropriate and also they would prevent any parking at the front, which hopefully means the way forward is open to a bid from us.

“The Council is also considering an application to have the building listed.

“It is a truly thrilling opportunity”.

The Players and backers are encouraging all interested parties to have a look around at one of Durrant’s open sessions and then contact Harleston Players for any more information or to make a pledge.

For more and to pledge, contact Lawrie Hammond on Lawrie.hammond1@gmail.com, 01986 788 600 or, 07852707905, or Miss Gill on

And for more on the Harleston Players, visit www.harlestonplayers.co.uk