History of the Bakehouse Building

Bakehouse building in the 1950s when it was Farmers Radio
The Bakehouse building in the 1950s when it was "Farmers Radio"
  • Bakehouse building in the 1950s when it was Farmers Radio
  • Bakehouse building in the 1950s
  • The Bakehouse building in the 1980s - the People's Bookshop
  • The Bakehouse building when it was known at the Red Shed theatre
  • The Bakehouse building as The Bakehouse Theatre in 2006
  • The Bakehouse Theatre as it appears now

Pamela, the Artistic Director of the Bakehouse, has been researching all of the origins of the Bakehouse Theatre building. (Keep watching this page for more updates.) So far, after pursuing all kinds of different sources, she has come up with the following chronology:-

  • In 1890 The Bakehouse was aquired by Lovell's to be used as a bakery.
  • In the 1950's it became "Farmers Radio". At the same time the building next door was used by Suburban Taxi service (now Yeate's Mechanical services). (See the two black & white photos above courtesy of the State Library - click on a photo to enlarge it.)
  • In July 1976 it was used as the Communist Party Headquarters with meeting rooms and a bookshop out the front. During this period the Communist Party formed a band called "The Red Peril" and cut a record called "Give Frazor the Razor". This record had to be produced in Singapore because Australia at that time would have nothing to do with it.
  • In 1976 The Salisbury College of Advanced Education (now Uni SA) rented space from the Communist Party to perform. Two of the people instrumental in producing these performances were Keith Gallash and Jackie Cook.
  • In 1979 The Red Shed was officially launched by these two together with some people in the Communist Party. When the Red Shed got into financial difficulties it combined with "The Troupe".

This collaboration lasted around 10 years during which some of the highlights were:-

  • 1980 An International Food Festival for which they closed off Cardwell St
  • 1980 Jo Hill created controversy with the lyrics of a song about women
  • 1983 Julie Holledge and Nick Sutus from Flinders University dug up the concrete floor of the theatre and replaced it with a wooden one
  • 1983 The building was broken into and a small fire was created on the southern side of the building. This was thought to have political motivations. Channel 7 hurried out to cover the news.
  • 1985 The first play from the Red Shed was "Turning the Tables" written by Dario Fo and Franche Rami.
  • Until 1989 there was a "Tribune Fair" every year in November and Eileen Darly sang at it with an Italian Ensemble singing group.
  • In 1983 Joan Harnet and Chillian had a book launching.
  • 1990 Communist Party crashed and the building and all its assets were taken over by the SEARCH Foundation

In 1998, Peter Green took over the theatre from The Red Shed and re-named it The Bakehouse Theatre in line with its original origins.

Among many other projects, in 2005, Peter created the hugely successful and much appreciated "Artist's Development Programme" which catered for newly graduated actors, giving them an opportunity to hone their craft before being picked up by some of the larger professional theatre companies. At the same time it was hired out to other theatre companies.

In 2007 this Development Programme lost its funding and the theatre was taken over by Pamela Munt. Although there was no funding to continue this particular programme, Pamela had great sympathy with the mission statement behind it and was keen to ensure that the theatre remained alive. As the new Artistic Director of the Bakehouse with very limited funding, Pamela has been obliged to run the theatre mostly as a venue for hire, but can still give some support to emerging artists, through her "Resident Theatre Company" scheme. 

Click here for information about HIRING the theatre. Then if you have any questions, please contact us.

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255 Angas Street
South Australia 5000
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Tel: (08) 8227 0505
Intl: +61 8 8227 0505
Email: info@bakehousetheatre.com

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