Behind the Curtain at Harrogate Theatre

Derick England, one of Harrogate Theatres supporters.
Derick England, one of Harrogate Theatres supporters.

Over the next three weeks I’d like to introduce you to some of the Harrogate Theatre team.

Let’s start this week with one of our wonderful volunteers, Derick England.

What’s your role at Harrogate Theatre and what does it involve?

I am the Honorary President of the Harrogate Theatre Supporters Club. In this role I attend committee meetings, give support to the current committee and pass on my knowledge of Harrogate Theatre.

For over 30 years I have been a volunteer usher at Harrogate Theatre.

Another role I have is selling pantomime merchandise in the foyer at Christmas. Having done this for many years now, some people come up to me and say their parents had given them pantomine items as a child and they now were buying for their own children.

What was the last thing you saw at Harrogate Theatre and what did you think of it?

I believe the last play I saw in the main theatre was Magic Circle, the content of which had been well researched and the acting was superb.

I enjoy seeing new plays in the Studio, this is a very intimate space.  This must be very challenging to the actors, being so close to the audience.  

Tell us an interesting fact about Harrogate Theatre that people maynot know.

When I was a child I was taken to the pantomime, I must say it was not always Harrogate Theatre.  One year I came to see Cinderella and just before the interval, when the coach comes on stage, one of the ponies broke loose and fell in the orchestra pit

We were assured after the interval that both the pony and the violinist which the pony fell on were alright.  

One year, on the last night of Cinderella during a slapstick scene with foam, one of the ugly sisters stopped breathing and had to be taken to Harrogate Hospital in full costume to be checked out.  

Am sure they must have startled the A and E Department!

All was well and they returned just before the final curtain call and the audience did not suspect anything amiss.

What makes Harrogate Theatre special? 

First of all it has to be the people who work in the building.  Even after over 30 years I still enjoy coming and working at the theatre.  

I have done so many different things over the years including, for one night only,  playing the back end of a camel because the person who should have been there was late arriving.

The Front of House Manager at the time said ‘Derick will do it.’ I introduced the Drama Festival for many years.

have been placed in many different roles over the years, so now if I am asked to do something out of my normal range I will give it a try.