Some Highlights from 2020

In this week's edition of the Harrogate Advertiser our Head of Comms, Rachel Auty, shares her 2019 highlights at Harrogate Theatre...

This week I want to share some of my personal 2019 highlights at Harrogate Theatre. There have been so many!

It was a year of firsts for us. Five of the shows in the Summer season were part of a new Pride Fringe Festival, and I personally loved Hayley and Me in our Stalls bar. Overall 165 people came to the festival, 39% of the audience had never booked with us before.

In July we presented Immersive Gatsby, which was a show like no other I’ve ever experienced before where the audience dressed up to the 1920s nines and the main auditorium was transformed into Gatsby’s grand ballroom.

In September Culture Hop was a new beer, gin and arts experience designed to showcase the theatre building in a different way and to raise funds for Harrogate (White Rose) Theatre Trust. We put cask ale in the sweet shop, a gin bar on the main stage, and we brought 5-minute ‘taster’ performances to unusual nooks and crannies.

It was a delight to see how our wonderful building can adapt and delight, and we know both events brought more new people through the doors.

Moving outside of the building and as part of our commitment to putting work into step-free spaces we brought the SpiegelYurt to town in November. Located at the rear of St Wilfrid’s Church, we presented 11 shows over 6 days, and 17% of the audience were first time bookers.

On to awards. In 2019 we were delighted to be a finalist in the Arts & Culture category at the White Rose Awards – the biggest tourism awards ceremony in the UK. We also took the Organisation of the Year award in the 2019 Volunteer Oscars – a very well-deserved recognition for our amazing army of volunteers who donate literally thousands of hours every year.

I also managed to catch all three of the HT Rep shows this year, and I’m really pleased to see this new venture going from strength to strength.

Comedy is always strong in Harrogate, and a personal favourite for me last year was Harrogate’s own rising star, Maisie Adam, who performed two back-to-back sell-out gigs as part of the 11th Harrogate Comedy Festival in October.

Oh and, we launched a brand new membership scheme which is growing nicely, and Snow White is another very brilliant pantomime… Happy New Year to you and bring on a culturally delightful 2020.

First published in the Harrogate Advertiser on THU 2 JAN.