The study and appreciation of the life, works and times of Arnold Bennett

The Origins of the Potteries’ Victoria Theatre

The Origins of the Potteries’ Victoria Theatre by Society Chair, Dr Leslie Powner, is the first history of Stoke-on-Trent’s ground-breaking theatre.  It reveals a fascinating tale that begins with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s wish to establish a Civic Theatre after the Second World War and developed into a much-loved local institution of seminal importance to the post-war development of British theatre.  The Newcastle project was adopted by Stephen Joseph and Peter Cheeseman, who converted a disused cinema, the Victoria, where Cheeseman began to develop his innovative method of verbatim theatre in Britain’s first permanent theatre-in-the-round.  The book traces the sometimes stormy relationship between Joseph and Cheeseman, as well as the theatre’s adaptations of Arnold Bennett’s work with the involvement of Bennett’s ‘common-law’ wife, Dorothy Cheston Bennett, whose equally turbulent relationship with the theatre added to those tensions.


Arnold Bennett Society 2017

ISBN 978-0-9570350-7-2


Sentinel article


The book is published under the Society imprint and is available directly from the author, contact  Also available at Barewall Gallery and other retailers.

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