Exciting £500,000 cash boost for Harrogate Theatre

Coming to Harrogate Theatre - Ruth Rendell's star-studded A Judgement in Stone which runs from July 11-15.
Coming to Harrogate Theatre - Ruth Rendell's star-studded A Judgement in Stone which runs from July 11-15.

Harrogate Theatre is celebrating winning a six-figure sum from the Arts Council.

In what are judged by many to be tough times for the arts as a whole, the theatre’s chief executive says the award will put Harrogate’s arts hub in a strong position for the future.

David Bown said: “We’re obviously thrilled to have the ongoing support of Arts Council England NPO funding, and it’s great news for Harrogate.

“This means we can continue to champion the arts in the town, support artists and deliver quality creative experiences and live entertainment for local people, as well as the many visitors our district attracts.”

A decade of success for Harrogate Theatre has been achieved in the teeth of trying financial times.

In 2008 as government cuts started to bite, the theatre’ annual Arts Council was reduced by £250,000.

Now the town’s beloved Victorian theatre is to receive a total of around £500,000 over four years from 2018-22 as part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio (NPO) scheme.

The healthy state of Harrogate Theatre was recognised last year when UK Theatre produced a league table of the best performing subsidised theatres in England, in which it was listed third top in Yorkshire and 26th overall.

The theatre’s most recent panto, Dick Whittington, was a record breaker, ending its run in January as the largest grossing show in the theatre’s history.

And last month saw Harrogate Theatre hosting the only northern tour date for the ‘groundbreaking’ Golem by 1927 - an extraordinary production which began its journey at Harrogate Theatre as work-in-development back in 2014.

Chief Executive David Bown said “It’s an exciting time for us as we prepare to launch our autumn/winter season and our ninth annual Harrogate Comedy Festival, alongside working on significant refurbishment plans.

“The NPO funding holds us in a strong position. With the continued support of the Arts Council, our supporters and patrons and the people of Harrogate, the future looks bright.”

The theatre’s up-coming programme is being hailed as a golden age with shows of national reputation.

David Bown said: “We’re really proud of the quality of productions we present.

“Next week we have the national tour of the Ruth Rendell Classic A Judgement in Stone with a star-studded cast that includes Shirley Ann Field and Antony Costa.

“At the end of the month we have our own Phil Lowe directing a new sinister mystery-thriller called Magic Circle by renowned novelist Kim Newman, author of the critically acclaimed ‘Anno Dracula’ novels, starring award-winning actor James Hyland. It’s absolutely brilliant.”