The Montgomery Theatre and Arts Centre is a 200-year-old Sheffield Community Venue providing a safe, inclusive and family-friendly environment for amateur dramatic companies, professional performers and local children.
The theatre is available for hire to amateur dramatic societies and are proud of their convenient city centre location and historic 420 seat theatre. They also run holiday clubs for kids and are dedicated to creating opportunities to engage with the arts for the local community – young and old.
They are a social hub that celebrates the diversity of young people in South Yorkshire, bringing people together to create a community space where children can learn and grow from each other. They want to inspire the young, budding artists of the future and facilitate a cultural education that these young individuals may otherwise face barriers to – for example, the underfunding of arts in schools.
They firmly believe the arts have the power to create social change and have a positive impact on the organisations and the audiences who visit them. Their mission to create change in our community has children and young people at its heart. Going forward, they want to improve their building’s accessibility and gain a better understanding of the communities they serve. There should be no barriers to the arts and that’s what The Montgomery is all about.
Monday - Sunday: 09:00 - 17:00
Monday - Sunday: 09:00 - 17:00
The Montgomery has been a pillar of Sheffield community for championing the rights of children to explore creativity since 1886. But its history goes back even further than that...
In 1812 James Montgomery played an instrumental role (along with his lifelong friend George Bennet) in the establishment of The Sheffield Sunday School’s Union (now known as the Christian Education Counsel), a school dedicated to educating working children in Sheffield, particularly in literature and culture.
James was a radical and avid spokesperson for social reform, including banning the employment of children as chimney sweeps and the abolition of the slave trade. Montgomery was born in Ayrshire in Scotland but, after briefly living in Ireland between the ages of 4 and 6, was moved to Fulneck, near Leeds when his parents, devout Moravians, left England to become missionaries in the West Indies.
He moved to Sheffield at the age of 21 to become a bookkeeper at The Sheffield Iris, which would be renamed The Sheffield Register under Joseph Gales. For this reason, he is best known as a Yorkshire poet. Montgomery was imprisoned in York Castle in 1795 for publishing a poem about the storming of the Bastille which was considered to be ‘treasonous, seditious and libelous’. Here he wrote what is possibly his best poem, The Wanderer of Switzerland.
Romantic era giant, William Wordsworth’s response to this poem was received by Montgomery in a letter from the poet in 1806: “From the time I first read your Wanderer of Switzerland I have felt a lively interest in your destiny as a poet.”
However, Montgomery was most prolific as a hymn writer, his best-known hymn being Angels from the Realm of Glory which is still sung today. He believed that poetry and art could have a real impact on society. Upon his death in 1854, he was honoured with a public funeral at Sheffield General Cemetery. 80,000 of Sheffield’s population of 83,000 were in attendance.
Montgomery Hall was erected in James’s memory in the year 1884 and began its life as a house for the Sunday School’s Union. It has since seen a wealth of history including its’ use by the government during the Great war and a catastrophic fire in 1971 necessitating its refurbishment as the modern theatre which exists today.
Today, at the Montgomery Theatre, they endeavour to uphold James’s legacy and promote the rights of children to a cultural education through defiant creativity and self-expression. Equality is still at the heart of their ethos.