A MUCH-loved Barnsley theatre is celebrating the 20th anniversary of when it first opened its doors.

Yesterday marked 20 years to the day since the Lamproom Theatre welcomed the public to the venue for the very first time.

It has since grown into one of the town’s most well-known entertainment venues.

The theatre - which occupies one of Barnsley’s oldest and most prominent structures - was originally built in 1792 as the town’s first Methodist chapel.

It was then later sold to The National Association of Boys’ Clubs in 1948.

When the club closed nearly 50 years later, the building became dilapidated and was targeted by vandals.

But in 1997 John Kelly, the founding member of the Lamproom Theatre and father of famous Barnsley actress Katherine Kelly, went to view the building.

“The paraphernalia of drug use littered the floors, the walls were running with water and I found a huge hole in the wooden floor where there had once been a fire,” explained John.

“The rear windows had been smashed and the building had become a roost and toilet for the town’s pigeons.”

However John still purchased the building. Having gathered a group of his friends together they created The Barnsley Theatre Trust Ltd, and after a full refurbishment project, the theatre was ready to open its doors in 1999.

During the first ever production, John walked on stage carrying a lit miner’s lamp, as a symbolic reminder of theatre’s name and the area’s mining heritage.

The theatre is still going strong today - much to John’s delight.