AN historic theatre is opening its doors to the public for its annual open day.

The West Cliff Theatre, in Clacton, has put a date in the diary for residents to explore what really happens behind the scenes.

The event will give the public the opportunity to meet the theatre’s trustees and many of its dedicated volunteers who are essential to the day to day running of the building.

The stage door bar will also be open during the day serving coffee, drinks and snacks.

A West Cliff spokesman said: “Our open day is an ideal time to learn about what goes on backstage during a performance, and also the various opportunities there are for volunteers – from technical and backstage to front of house and even being out and about helping to promote the theatre on event days like the Clacton Air Show.”

The theatre boasts the longest running summer variety show in the country and has been staging performances for the past 125 years.

Its origins can be traced back to 1894 when Bert Graham arrived in Clacton with his London Concert Company.

The West Cliff closed when the Second World War broke out, although it did reopen during the war to stage a number of shows for the thousands of troops billeted in Clacton.

The open day is taking place on Saturday, January 26, from 10am until 4pm.

Tours of the theatre along with an introduction from the chairman of the trust and the theatre manager will be held at 10.30am, 11.30am and 2pm.

All tours are free, but it is advisable to book on to them in advance to avoid disappointment.

The open day is free.

For more details and tickets visit or call 01255 433344.