Did you know that Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Imelda Staunton, and Vanessa Redgrave all began as actors in repertory theatre?
Traditionally a repertory theatre company is a group of actors who perform a small number of plays for just a few weeks at a time, and there’s a strong history of repertory at Harrogate Theatre. William Peacock was the Managing Director of Harrogate Theatre when it was the Grand Opera House from it’s opening in 1900 through to the mid 1930’s when his wife and daughter took over.
The theatre operated as a touring venue up to the early 1930’s when the growing popularity of cinema and radio saw a decline in theatre audiences. As an answer to the problem, William Peacock formed a repertory company, The White Rose Players (one of the first weekly rep companies in the country), and the theatre became a producing venue. The White Rose Players performed around 45 plays a year and continued through to the mid 1950’s.
Since re-opening after a short closure in 1958 and over the rollercoaster years that have followed, Harrogate Theatre has operated largely as a touring venue. However, we’re delighted to announce that this autumn, we are bringing repertory back to Harrogate Theatre working in partnership with our friends at Phil&Ben Productions, Phil Stewart and Ben Roddy. Phil and Ben are acting industry professionals with nearly 50 years experience in all areas of the business, from film to television, radio to commercials and from West End theatre to regional touring. You may also recognise one of the names, as Phil has been a regular as Dame in our much-loved panto over many years.
This autumn HT Rep presented three shows over a three week period, all by one company and one cast. The shows took place on the main stage at Harrogate Theatre from 4-22 September.