The Anvil was originally built by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in August 1992 and the building officially opened in May 1994.
The venue itself is built with international reputation, built around its excellent room acoustics, the concert hall seats 1400 guests, an ideal size for the very highest standard of acoustic performance. The arrangement of the seating ensures theatrical intimacy between the audience and the performers.
Similarly, the acoustic design ensures that the listener is enveloped in the sound which combines clarity with warmth and reverberance, great care has been taken to control the number and type of exposed technical fittings to ensure that the building fits all styles of music and live performance whilst the auditorium itself is comprehensively insulated from external noise.
The Anvil since it’s launch has seen great performances from touring companies including, Peter Pan, Twinkle, stand up performances from Jason Manford, Jon Richardson and many others and a wide range of classical music from the likes of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and many others.
The quality of the acoustic at The Anvil was the prime consideration throughout the building process, and the auditorium was designed to suit a wide range of acoustic performances, which brings life to the stage.
Inside the Anvil is the intimate 80 seat stage called The Forge, which hosts a wide range of events and also corporate seminars.
Anvil Arts, now nearly 25 years since its birth, continues to grow with even more accessible performances for both guests and actors with disabilities with its focus of inclusion for all lovers of theatre and performance with The Anvil Trust, which runs The Anvil, The Haymarket and The Forge, as an independent educational charity. Alongside its programme of performances, The Anvil Trust runs an all-year-round community and education programme, to the same high standards as Anvil Arts’ main programme.
The Haymarket Theatre:
This regal building which now houses The Haymarket opened in 1865 as the Corn Exchange for the town, and was bought by the Basingstoke Corporation in 1874. By 1910 it was being used as a roller skating rink.
In 1913 it was refitted and renamed The Grand Exchange Cinema, operating as both cinema and variety house.
In 1925 it was gutted by fire, which left only the external walls and roof girders standing. Having been rebuilt, it continued as a cinema until 1940. It was again refurbished by the Town Council and managed by first Stockley Theatres and then William Hammer Theatre Ltd.
The Haymarket as it stands today is an intimate 380 seated venue with shows taking place throughout the year, Anvil Arts continues to support local organisations and schools with a wide range of accessible performances.
“Our partnership with The Anvil has provided unique opportunities for the whole ability range of students to develop skills, both musical and personal, which have had an overwhelmingly positive and influential effect on them as individuals.”
Fort Hill School.
The workshops and projects the trust brings wider musical horizons and enhanced life skills all over the county. They also take music and enjoyment to people who could find it difficult to come to venues, including those in sheltered housing and special schools.
This work has a high impact on communities in Basingstoke and Deane benefiting families, groups and individuals in the borough and beyond. This work changes lives and opens minds for those taking part.
Previous years brought over 16,000 workshops and over 30,000 children managed to take part in the arts.
For more information about accessibility at The Anvil and Haymarket Theatres, please visit the links below to find out more about using your Access Card at each venue.