Harrogate inventor Samson Fox’s story to be told in theatre he helped build

The remarkable story of one of the UK’s most meteoric inventors, Samson Fox, will be brought to dramatic life for the first time in Harrogate.

By Gemma Jimmison
Monday, 4th July 2022, 1:55 pm

North of Watford will perform The Man Who Captured Sunlight in the theatre Samson Fox was instrumental in building - Harrogate’s Royal Hall - on September 23.

Samson Fox was Mayor of Harrogate from 1889 to 1892, and is the forebear of Britain’s most famous acting dynasty. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren have starred in epic movies, from Edward Fox in the Day of the Jackal, to Emilia Fox in Silent Witness, and Freddie Fox in The Crown.

Samson was born into poverty in Bradford in 1838. As an inventor, he helped spearhead the Industrial Revolution. He famously ‘bottled the sun’ as Harrogate’s streets became the first thoroughfares in the world to be lit with his Fox Water-Gas. Joe Standerline, who has appeared in TV shows such as Victoria (ITV), The Full Monty (Disney Plus) and Safe (Netflix), will play Samson.

Sian Murray, director of the play, said: “It’s a dramatic, engrossing story that deserves to be told and one that Harrogate, and the North as a whole, should celebrate. It’s also thrilling to bring to life a new and original stage play, performed in the very theatre Samson himself was instrumental in building in Harrogate.”

The play charts Samson’s meteoric rise. A Hollywood movie was even inspired by Fox’s inventions, but befalling him later in life was a controversial court case with the literary figure, Jerome K Jerome.

Cause UK, the Harrogate-based creative agency, is producer and sponsor of the play while advisors include the late historian Malcolm Neesam, and Edward and Freddie Fox.

There will be a Q&A with the Fox family, playwright, actors and director after the show. To book, go to: bit.ly/3ycybdT.