Revealed: Covid costs £3.7million in lost sales to Harrogate Theatre

Harrogate Theatre says there has already been an “astounding” response from the public to news of its first live show since lockdown.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 29th October 2020, 11:42 am
Updated Thursday, 29th October 2020, 11:48 am
Harrogate Theatre has announced plans for a live Covid-secure evening with actor, director and Emmerdale star Reece Dinsdale.
Harrogate Theatre has announced plans for a live Covid-secure evening with actor, director and Emmerdale star Reece Dinsdale.

But chief executive David Bown said the announcement of a Covid-secure evening with actor, director and Emmerdale star Reece Dinsdale next month did not mean Harrogate Theatre was out of the terrible financial hole it shares with the rest of the arts industry locally and nationally.

Revealing for the first time the full scale of the losses being sustained by the town’s cultural hub during the pandemic, Mr Bown said the venue’s first live show since March was being made possible thanks to financial support from the Arts Council and the public’s incredible support for the theatre’s emergency appeal which has passed the £100,000 mark.

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But the live show will reflect the need to have a vastly lower capacity for the audience, a factor which rules out holding Harrogate Theatre's popular annual panto this year.

Mr Bown said: “The public appetite for the event with Reece Dinsdale has been astounding

“Everyone at Harrogate Theatre is extremely grateful for the incredible support that we have received from our audiences, Harrogate Borough Council, the Arts Council and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“Across these sources the theatre has managed to raise £750,000 to secure its immediate future and cover some of these brutal losses. But we have still had to make 60% of our staff redundant.

“The facts are from March 2020 to April 2021, Harrogate Theatre will have lost £3.7million in ticket sales.”

Taking place on November 28, Reece Dinsdale - Reece’s Pieces will see Harrogate Theatre transformed by the whole panoply of PPE, including Ozone space sanitisers of the type used in hospitals to make any space in Harrogate Theatre 100% Covid secure, contactless wrist readers to check audiences on entry, perspex screens, social distancing and a much reduced capacity.

A deep clean of all public spaces will also be carried out ahead of the performance.

Although delighted the theatre was now able to dip its toe into live shows for the first time since March, it did not mean it has turned the corner during the challenges and restrictions of Covid.

Mr Bown said: “There is a long way to go in order to emerge on the other side.

“The impossibility of doing our panto this year still leaves us with a vast financial hole.

“We estimate that a further £250,000 is required to place the theatre in a position of strength for 2021. But the generous support of Harrogate people for our emergency appeal is making a huge difference.”

Exciting night with top actor at Harrogate Theatre: Factfile

Harrogate Theatre is to dip its toes into live performances for the first time since the Covid pandemic broke out with a socially-distanced ‘in person’ show starring one of Britain’s finest actors.

Taking place on Saturday, November 28 in the flesh, not via Zoom, the groundbreaking event will offer a brilliant evening of conversation with actor, director and Harrogate Theatre patron Reece Dinsdale (Emmerdale, Threads, Spooks, Life on Mars, Coronation Street).

Called Reece Dinsdale - Reece’s Pieces, the event at Harrogate Theatre will be hosted by Mark Charnock (Emmerdale) for a joyful evening full of stories and anecdotes from Reece’s illustrious career.

Booking for Reece Dinsdale - Reece’s Pieces, is open now via

Please note, capacity for this show will be heavily reduced.

How to support Harrogate Theatre Emergency Appeal

Make a donation

You can do this online via

Buy tickets to future shows

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If Harrogate Theatre has to cancel or rearrange any future shows, please consider donating your ticket fee (or part of it)

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There are currently a limited number of seats available.

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