Home of the Dilys Guite Players
The Lantern has a long and exciting history. Originally built in the Victorian era as a personal theatre for the family of a wealthy cutlery manufacturer, and later becoming a dance school in the 1920s, it has gone on to survive long periods of abandonment, neglect and disrepair - and even bombings in Sheffield during the Second World War. The architecturally and historically important space is one of the few historic buildings of this kind still remaining and functioning, and has gone on to become one of the most intimate and atmospheric spaces to enjoy theatre.
In the 1950s this hidden gem was rediscovered and restored by an enterprising actress and drama teacher Dilys Guite, who along with a small group of friends had a vision to reopen the doors to this magical theatre for everyone’s enjoyment.
Today, it's owned in her namesake by the in-house community theatre group the Dilys Guite Players, who bring an exciting and varied programme of events to Sheffield all year round.
We always offer a warm welcome. You can help build our future and part of our history!
A hidden gem
In the heart of the community
The Lantern is Sheffield's oldest surviving theatre. At over 127 years old, and as a grade II listed building, it is a vital and unique part of Sheffield's heritage. There aren't many theatres quite like it. Built as a gift by the original owner for his daughters to perform for their friends and family, and with only 84 seats, it is an intimate and atmospheric space. The Lantern is more than just a theatre for audiences to enjoy our programme, it fully supports new and existing members to develop skills through practice, and provide the opportunities they need on all levels of experience.
At the Lantern we look to engage at a local level to foster a deep and diverse appreciation of creativity and performance. The Lantern is home to The Dilys Guite Players (DGP), our in-house community theatre group and independent charity, who have volunteered their time since 1957 to look after this important building. They also ensure those with a love for performance, writing and production can develop and showcase their skills.
The Lantern is passionate about high quality, varied, theatre and is an exciting venue for select professional touring companies who have built a relationship with us over many years. Our reputation for unmissable theatre continues to grow. The venue also hosts local groups featuring young performers, giving them the opportunity to perform in a real theatre with dramatic lighting and sound.
Outstanding Community Theatre
The DGP are a leading community theatre group that have been entertaining audiences with magical productions since 1947, where they first performed from the Library Theatre.
The charity was founded in 1957 by Dilys Guite. After receiving permission from the then owner Charles Richardson, Dilys and a small group of friends restored the theatre with only £33 in the account after become enchanted by the building. After lots of hard work and determination, working all day and night every weekend with little resources and financial support, the previously abandoned Chalet Theatre was renamed The Lantern and once again opened its doors. Dily’s described her life as being “immeasurably enriched”, and wanted to continue enriching the lives of others. Mr Richardson was so impressed with their enthusiasm and sheer hard work that he presented the theatre to the players in memory of his wife.
After all of these years, the DGP remains at the heart of the theatre. Today they continue its long and rich tradition and its commitment to production values and professionalism – making it one of the best community theatre groups in Sheffield. The DGP produces up to ten shows a year, as well as the annual New Writing Festival, which continues to be a fantastic opportunity for new or established writers to see their work performed on stage.
We’ve got something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to laugh, cry, or be taken into a different world for a couple of hours, the DGP at the Lantern are your best ticket for a great night of entertainment.