The Mill Theatre
History of the theatre
Thurso Players were gifted part of the old Thurso water mill by founder member The Hon. Robin Sinclair, Lord Thurso, and the Sinclair Family Trust in 1960. What is now the area housing the kitchen, backstage and wardrobe across three floors was the original link building, and the larger part, housing the auditorium and lounge, was the east kiln. Thurso Players used the premises as it was, with a roofless east kiln, until 1980 when they embarked on a project to restore the long-derelict part of the building alongside the used part and turn the whole into a small theatre.
The Mill Theatre was re-opened in October 1988 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. In 2010 the theatre was extensively extended and refurbished following a major fundraising campaign and grants from the Robertson Trust and the National Lottery Fund amongst others. An opening ceremony was conducted by Margaret, Lady Thurso.
In order to solve the issues of lacking set construction and rehearsal space in 2019 Thurso Players purchased the derelict Foundry building, which lies adjacent to the theatre on the mill complex. Our aim is to restore the Foundry building and create valuable extra space to allow the theatre to grow, while saving an important building in the history of Thurso.
The Mill Theatre houses 78 comfortable tip-up seats, which are raked for proscenium performances, and can be laid out as needed. For accessibility, a ramp allowing wheelchair access leads directly from the car park area located next to the auditorium.
Refreshments are served in the downstairs lounge area, both before performances and during intermission when appropriate, by our front of house team.
The management, running, cleaning and maintenance of the theatre is all carried out voluntarily by members of the society.
External access to the auditorium is via a fire door with six steps, or an accessible ramp. Internally, access is via stairways located through the lounge, or kitchen area to backstage, both with fire doors situated at ground floor level.
The theatre has an internal phone system and a show relay with video and sound system to all areas. Black velour drapes are available (for stage sides and rear).
The proscenium stage is 6.1m by 4.9m, or arena 3.7m by 7.9m. Proscenium opening is 6.1m by 4.3m. The floor is painted plywood, which has been found suitable for dance. The rear wall can be used as a cyclorama, there is an electric projection screen and there is backstage cast crossover.
There is access via backstage doors to a dressing room with hot and cold running water and toilet facilities. Iron and board are available. A Yamaha Clavinova is also available. Refreshments can be provided for visiting companies on request. Volunteers are available on call.
A detailed technical specification and floor plan for The Mill Theatre is available.