GUISELEY Theatre is unveiling ambitious new development plans to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of its founder.

Sir Matthew William Thompson, who was born in February 1820, led the initiative to build a town hall and provided funding for the scheme. The building ultimately went on to become Guiseley Theatre. Sir Matthew gave the deeds for the building to the town council stipulating that it was “for the use of the inhabitants of Guiseley forever”.

To celebrate the landmark anniversary, the board of the new Guiseley Theatre CIC (Community Interest Company) are sharing plans for the redevelopment of the building and inviting the public to comment.

The wide-ranging scheme includes the creation of two large rehearsal studios, an in-house box office, permanent dressing rooms and additional toilets. The CIC is also planning to level the stage.

To view the plans visit ment or contact Guiseley Theatre on 07762 563689 to arrange a meeting.

Inspired by Thompson, the CIC is launching its first fundraising campaign. Sir Matthew William Thompson managed to raise £373 more than 150 years ago. The new board has taken that amount and multiplied it by ten to set the target of raising £3,730 to kick start the plans.

Anyone who wants to support the theatre should visit or contact the theatre directly to make a donation.

Jacob Phillips, voluntary director of Guiseley Theatre, urged the community to get behind the plans;

“Now at 153 years old, Guiseley Theatre is a very tired buiding - as you would expect of any building this age. But we are at a very exciting point where we are on the verge of some major redevelopments,” he said.

“The money raised will help us get the redevelopment plans moving, from enabling us to carry out essential surveys, to beginning to contact and consult with architects and engineers.

“All of this work is absolutely necessary to bring the vision of the Board to life.

“This vision includes things like making the building fit for 21st century use, things like adding a lift and improving disabled facilities - really making it more adaptable for the people who will be using it in years to come.

“Our aim is really to make everyone in Guiseley as excited about these plans as we are.

“By investing in Guiseley Theatre you are investing in the community, investing in culture and helping this building become the community hub that it was intended to be over 150 years ago.”