Dear Reader: Bringing Harrogate panto to patients + 'green' tokenism
A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers
I was lucky enough to watch an unusual production at Harrogate Theatre the other week.The cast was good – senior executives from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, local business sponsors and most of the board of Harrogate Theatre, including chief executive David Bown and its hard-working chairman councillor Jim Clark in one of his final performances before he retires from the role later in the year.The plot wasn’t bad either, boasting a cracking central premise which is sure to be a winner.Put simply, Harrogate Theatre’s incredibly popular annual panto will be beamed live for the first time ever to patients in Harrogate and Ripon hospitals.It’s an original plot twist but will take a little bit of pulling off.Fortunately the cast list also includes associate artist, Marcus Romer, whose technical expertise will ensure Jack and the Beanstalk is beamed by HD livestream to patients.The actual budget for this ambitious broadcast is Â£25,000. The aim is to raise it from local business sponsorship.It’s a sizable sum but look at the possible benefits.Children and adults in pain or discomfort given a shot of pure fun.Better than pain killers or a hot meal, Jack and the Beanstalk could prove the perfect tonic for young and old.As always with Harrogate Theatre, the town’s key creative hub, perhaps, it’s reaching out to the whole community rather than arts lovers alone. A show with such a happy ending surely deserves our support?
I spent most of the sweltering Bank Holiday weekend in London, shock storms, spectacular forks of lighting et al.In the whole three days I didn’t use a car once.I bus-ed it, Tube-d it and walked it but at no point did I set foot inside an automobile.What a change from getting around Harrogate and its surrounding rural areas.I had to take the car to Grantley the other week when watching my wife take part in the Fountains 10k to help raise funds for the village school.I wasn’t the only one. Race entrants were arriving on four wheels almost every minute.Soon the rural roads were awash in lines of parked cars owned by people doing something healthy in running shoes and shorts.But what choice did I or they have?The reason I didn’t use a car in London wasn’t in the name of some environmental gesture.It’s because I didn’t need to. Public transport was so plentiful and cheap.It went everywhere I needed to go every 10 minutes or so and it wasn’t expensive.A lesson, perhaps, for anyone thinking of tackling the Harrogate area’s traffic problems with merely a couple of ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ policies.