A BASINGSTOKE theatre celebrated its 30th anniversary by inviting the public to an open day to tour the venue including backstage areas.

The sold-out event on Saturday, May 4 saw more than 600 people visit The Anvil to celebrate 30 years since it opened in 1994.

The free event included tours giving access to places around the building not usually seen by the public including backstage dressing rooms where there were costumes on show from the theatre’s pantomime, and props to try on for a photo. Visitors were even allowed to stand on the stage and take a bow.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Visitors to The Anvil celebrated its 30th anniversaryThe event included lighting and sound demonstrations as well as activities in the auditorium where there was a chance to play an instrument with the Musication Station including drums, guitars, violins and keyboards.

A film showing in The Forge gave a taste of the history and the artists that have made The Anvil Basingstoke’s much-loved venue.

There were also pop-ups by local businesses that supply Anvil Arts, with tasters and samples for people to try.

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“Saturday was a great occasion to celebrate The Anvil in the community and share our fantastic venue with Basingstoke residents," said Matthew Cleaver, chief executive at Anvil Arts. 

He added: “Visitors commented on the impact The Anvil has had for themselves as well as on Basingstoke over the last 30 years.”

The Anvil has built a reputation as a world-class venue, creating jobs and bringing visitors to the town from all over the country, changing the image of Basingstoke.

There was an opportunity to add special memories to a memory wall in the foyer, where visitors shared their own personal experiences of visiting the theatre.

One visitor, Michelle, wrote ‘First date - Fisherman’s Friends, six months later – married.’

Rosie wrote: ‘My first memory of The Anvil was coming to see The Chuckle Brothers, and meeting them after.'

Matthew urged customers to keep an eye on Anvil Arts’ social media for further opportunities to celebrate The Anvil.

For more information, visit anvilarts.org.uk.