OPINION: Harrogate Theatre seeks loves stories for new project - David Bown, chief executive

It’s been another stormy month that has impacted significantly on Harrogate Theatre.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 2:33 pm

I must extend my gratitude to all the patrons that attended the Saturday night performance of Harrogate Operatic Players’ Kinky Boots on February 5, for their understanding of what turned out to be a last-minute cancelled show.

The theatre staff and the company had battled all day to keep the rain at bay within the building and under the temporary roof, soldiering on through the matinee, but the gale simply got the better of us in the evening.

It was understandably a very disappointing end to a successful week for the society. The audiences had clearly enjoyed the show with enthusiastic applause greeting the finale of every performance.

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However, the safety of all our staff, crew, performers and customers is imperative and it simply could not be guaranteed, as there was water ingress at a significant rate, which was getting perilously close to the electrics.

Our community companies have kicked off the ‘post-restrictions’ era marvellously. There was Kinky Boots this month, but also in January the challenging and dark 10 Rillington Place presented by Woodlands Drama Group.

This was followed by Joe Orton’s wickedly satirical Loot, performed by Harrogate Dramatic Society. Both shows were very well attended and received terrific feedback. The community groups provide such a rich variety to the overall artistic programme at Harrogate Theatre.

Following on from the successful and immersive Our Gate project, I was very excited to see the launch of our next Community project.

122 Love Stories, is the start of a three-year journey that will climax with a play called The Wedding performed throughout the theatre building in 2023 and then this story will play out in 2024, with an intriguing conclusion.

The project was inspired by a friend of mine who showed me a picture of her parents wedding reception being held at the theatre back in 1961.

This has further inspired our creative team of Rachael Halliwell and Amie Burns-Walker, to seek out other love stories related to the theatre.

The reason for 122 stories is because, that is how old the theatre is this year. During the presentation of these pieces, we will also seek to celebrate the theatre’s actual birthday.

So, if you have any love or friendship related stories that are associated with the theatre, please contact us.

Youth theatre are starting to get ready for their performances. I am very proud to say that we have kept all our classes going right through the pandemic either online or in person.

There will be four shows; Teenage Fantasy, which is devised by Beth Night, Changing Room by Chris Bush, directed by Sarah Chapleo, Second Person Narrative by Jenna Kennedy also directed by Sarah and Of The Terrifying Events on The Hamelin Estate by Philip Osment – all between March 17-19.

Check out our website for details, www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk.

Our main programme is equally exciting and varied with operas from Bizet and Puccini as well as comedy from Ed Gamble. Hope to see you at a show soon.

Lastly, the theatre roof is due to be completed next month with snagging and the dismantling of scaffolding to follow.

It’s been a long haul. Commencing back in May last year, it has clearly provided huge challenges for the council, who own Harrogate Theatre, but it looks as though we are getting there.