If you’re on the Harrogate Theatre mailing list, you may well have received an email about the upcoming HT Rep season this week.

 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.

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, Managing Director at the time 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.

In more recent years, Harrogate Theatre has operated again largely as a touring venue. However, in autumn 2018 we brought repertory back to Harrogate Theatre as HT Rep. We are delighted that the second repertory season is almost upon us. For 2019 we have John Godber’s ‘On The Piste’ opening on 27th August, followed by classic thriller ‘Deathtrap’ opening on 3rd September, with the third and final show, classic Hitchcock spy thriller and Olivier award winning ‘The 39 Steps’ opening on 10th September and running until 14th.

Harrogate Theatre’s own Phil Lowe, who also co-writes and directs the annual pantomime, will be directing The 39 Steps this season. Phil says: “The audience can expect a lot of laughs and a very clever set which has been designed and built by Harrogate Theatre Scenic Services.

Rep is part of our heritage and in our blood at Harrogate Theatre having housed one of the first weekly rep companies in the country in the 1930s. The three shows over three weeks by one company is a thrilling concept for theatre lovers. This is only our second rep season and we’d like to see it continue so we’re hoping Harrogate will come along and support us this autumn.”

HT Rep at Harrogate Theatre is created in partnership with our friends at Phil&Ben Productions, Phil Stewart and Ben Roddy.

Stewart can’t wait to get back on the Harrogate stage: “I’m delighted last year worked so well and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us to date. In 2019 we want to impress and further develop the repertory audience again and we’re confident we’ve got the right titles to do just that. We can’t wait!”

First published in the Harrogate Advertiser on Thursday 4th July