Breaking the Mould. Stoke.

Mitchell Memorial Theatre

The Mitchell Memorial Theatre on Broad Street in Hanley was built after the second world war and honours the memory of Reginald Mitchell the designer of the Spitfire.

An appeal was launched in March 1943 and the theatre was built entirely with public donations.

Mitchell was born at Talke in Stoke-upon-Trent in 1895. At the age of 21, in 1916, after apprenticing at a locomotive works and studying night classes, he went to work at Supermarine Aviation Works in Southampton. There he designed seaplanes, and by 1936 he had developed the Spitfire.

For many reasons the Spitfire was revolutionary, and continued to be modified after being put into service by the Royal Air Force in 1938. Used as a fighter, a fighter-bomber and photo-reconnaissance plane, the Spitfire XIV had a top speed of 440mph and could fly to altitudes of 12,200m, and during 1944 shot down more than 300 German V-1 missiles (the flying bomb or 'doodlebug').

Today the theatre is still in active use. It is small, seating a maximum of 380 and shows productions by diverse amateur groups many of which are youth groups.

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