Drama, comedy and panto too

Harrogate Theatre’s autumn/winter season has been announced with more than 90 different shows between September and February 2018.

The new season includes classic drama, comedy, music, audiences with, family, site-specific, ghost stories, political theatre, opera, film, ballet, and more, across four performance spaces at the heart of the town.

Kicking off in style, English Touring Theatre brings The Weir (19-23 September) to the stage at Harrogate Theatre. Winner of the 1997 Olivier Award for Best New Play, Conor McPherson’s chilling, modern classic stops off at Harrogate on a UK tour to marks its 20th anniversary year. The Weir is closely followed by Andrea Dunbar’s semi-autobiographical play, Rita Sue And Bob Too (26-30 September). This vivid portrait of girls caught between brutal childhood and an unpromising future famously became a cult film. The play’s original director Max Stafford-Clark directs this major new production and will also host a post-show discussion on the opening night (26 September). 

Heading into October and it’s the ninth annual Harrogate Comedy Festival (2-14 October) and on the line-up for 2017 are Jason Manford (2 October), Shappi Khorsandi (3 October), Jason Byrne (4 October), Lou Sanders (4 October), Stewart Lee (5 October), Ed Gamble (5 October), Simon Amstell (6 October), Phil Wang (9 October), Jimmy Carr (10 October), Paul Zerdin (11 October), Eleanor Conway (12 October), Andy Parsons (12 October), and Paul Chowdhry (13 October). There’s The Big Weekend on 7 and 8 October, and the sixth Comedian of the Year competition will also take place.

Taking place post-Comedy Festival on Thursday 19 - Sunday 22 October is Mobile by The Paper Birds – a site-specific piece taking the form of an intimate 40 minute theatre show in a caravan. The content of the show looks at wanting more, climbing the social ladder, and what we leave behind, and has been developed from interviews conducted in communities across the UK.

It’s a busy November with James Acaster (1 November), Jason Donovan and his Amazing Midlife Crisis (2 November), The Magic Flute (4 November), and All Or Nothing (6-11 November) at Harrogate Theatre, The Music of Bob Marley (16 November) at the Royal Hall, and Chris Rea (24 November) at Harrogate Convention Centre.

Festive family favourite the Harrogate Theatre pantomime opens on Wednesday 6 December. This year it’s Beauty & The Beast. Running for more than six weeks, Harrogate is set to be sprinkled with glitter right up until the close of panto on Sunday 21 January. There are other shows going on over panto time at the Royal Hall, Harrogate Convention Studio and in the Harrogate Studio Theatre so do check the website or grab a What’s On guide for details.

And the Harrogate Theatre Studio is also offering a programme of nicely priced up-close-and-personal shows from exciting theatre companies and the theatre’s own Associate Artists.

 This season features work by Michael Sabbaton, Rachael Halliwell, Buglight Theatre, Atresbandes, Odd Doll, LittleMighty, Adam Z. Robinson, and Townsend Productions. There’s also the monthly Hyena Lounge Comedy Club and the live local music showcase, Circle Live. Tribute acts for the season include Limehouse Lizzy (14 September), The Elvis Years (26 October), The Bootleg Beatles (8 December), and The Bon Jovi Experience (19 December), and for the big names there’s Lesley Garrett (16 September), Squeeze (28 October), Daniel O’Donnell (12 December), Jools Holland (21 December), and Paul Carrack (9 February).

For families there’s February half term fun in the shape of Milkshake! Live: The Magic Story Book (14 February) and children’s classic, The Jungle Book (15 February).

If live entertainment is your thing Harrogate is definitely the place to be this autumn.

There are even more shows online so check the website for the full season listings at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk