Thanks for making our panto a big hit!

The long haul that is Christmas at Harrogate Theatre has finally, if somewhat regrettably, drawn to a close. The staff Christmas party seems a lifetime away. But what a party it has been this year during panto season. A critically acclaimed show and a terrifically talented cast that will be sorely missed.

When you look back over the achievements of the show, it is very easy to focus on the actors, but as I’m sure you are aware there are so many people that contribute to a giant of a production like Jack and The Beanstalk. Firstly, spare a thought for the two understudies Alice Barrott and Naail Ishaq. Both absolutely ready to step up if needed, but thankfully, they were not required to do so as illness was kept at bay. Alice sweated away for two months as the front end of the cow and Naail was also an unsung hero inside the giant’s costume.

The backstage crew likewise had a monumental task of moving and animating Morgan Brind’s magnificently designed set, the marketing team did a great job of selling the show - achieving record box office returns and of course our front of house team worked tirelessly getting 33,000 people in and out of the building to see the show. There is not much festive rest for many at the theatre over Christmas, however, their incredible efforts clearly paid off. But, the biggest thank you must go to our very loyal audience, for supporting us once again and entering into the wonderful spirit of it all. It really would be nothing without you.

There was one special day during the run that stood out for me. On the 28 December, Marcus Romer one of our associate artists, organised a live streaming of the show to Harrogate Hospital. I attended both the theatre and the children’s ward on that day and what a magical day it was. Thank you to all the ushers and supporters that helped to make the event happen so successfully. An exercise definitely worth repeating next year. Speaking of next year, script and set design meetings have already taken place for Snow White… Christmas really is an all year-round concern at the theatre.

Marcus Romer has been working very hard on a number of projects for Harrogate Theatre and his efforts are largely responsible for the theatre’s involvement in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) event that is coming to our town in September. I’m assured that this as an event, is even bigger than the Tour de France and will witness a week of cycling activity in Harrogate every day. Marcus has secured funds that has resulted in the theatre being tasked to provide the supporting cultural activity. It should be a very exciting summer and early autumn with the eyes of the world on Harrogate.

2019 promises to be a very busy year indeed, apart from the UCI, Porl Cooper has put together a cracking studio season. There are far too many interesting shows to list here, so please take a look at our brochure or website and have a think about trying something different.

In the main house we will be host to the John Godber Company with the modern classic Bouncers, Northern Broadsides with the old classic Much Ado About Nothing and our own Rep season will return in late Summer, followed by the ever-popular Comedy Festival. Plenty to celebrate in our 120th year. That reminds me… thank you to all who attended our 119th Birthday party. Food and fun were had by all. Happy New Year!