Anniversaries for theatre buildings are crowding in this year. Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a special open day on Saturday 8 September. Free events after the grand opening at 10am include backstage tours, an archive exhibition, live performances from local companies between 11am and 4pm and foot-tapping music all the meantime in the bar.

There’s also an interesting mix of professional productions through to the New Year. The first of these is from Rumpus on 10 and 11 October and it’s called Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Fear, based on The Final Problem. Hard on Moriarty’s heels and the Reichenbach Falls comes a new thriller with the apposite title of Soap Opera. A cast including several former stalwarts of Eastenders and its ilk – Michelle Gaye, Leslie Grantham and Louis Emerick among them – are involved between 16 and 20 October.

Firm favourites across the region are the Birmingham Stage Company’s enactments of Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories. This time around, Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians battle it out from 23 to 27 October, complete with the ever-more amazing 3D effects which will bring the Armada and the Charge of the Light Brigade into the auditorium. Make Room on the Broom on 4 and 5 November with Tall Stories’ well-received stage version.

Blackeyed Theatre return on 21 November, this time with Lee Hall’s translation of Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children. One from the heart is the co-presenter of this year’s pantomime between 5 December and 6 January. This year it’s that favourite story – Jack and the Beanstalk, written by Simon Aylin. Tall Stories returns from 31 January to 2 February with The Gruffalo’s Child and the Birmingham Stage Company is also back between 19 and 23 February, offering James and the Giant Peach.

Next door to the Civic is its studio theatre, the Cramphorn. Actor-writer James Hyland takes to its stage on 23 October with Fagin’s Last Hour. On 26 and 27 October Full Circle presents Tom Stoppard’s Hapgood and on 29 October Seconds Out by Nick Lane is a world premiere from Reform Theatre. Two M R James ghost stories make up Nunkie Theatre’s one-man show with Robert Lloyd Parry.