Theatre unveils new season - and new era

NOTE CORRECT CAPTION Undated BBC Handout Photo from Mock The Week. Pictured: Andy Parsons, Dara O'Briain, Russell Howard and Hugh Dennis. See PA Feature TV O Briain. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/BBC. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV O Briain.

NOTE CORRECT CAPTION Undated BBC Handout Photo from Mock The Week. Pictured: Andy Parsons, Dara O'Briain, Russell Howard and Hugh Dennis. See PA Feature TV O Briain. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/BBC. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV O Briain.

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FOR the first time ever, Harrogate Theatre’s new season will include a series of shows at the Royal Hall.

It’s the latest step forward for the theatre which was hailed as “outstanding and/or strong” in all areas in the Arts Council England’s annual review, as well as achieving increased audience figures for the second year running.

Its growing success and confidence is reflected in it’s impressively-bound, new-look spring season brochure, branded with the collective identity of Harrogate Theatres and the Royal Hall.

From February to May this year more than 90 performances will take place in the three venues - Harrogate Theatre, the Royal Hall and Harrogate Theatre Studio.

Included will be six world premieres, eight community productions as well as world class artists such as Edward Fox and family, The Hallé, Northern Sinfonia, Stewart Lee, Rich Hall and many more.

This way of working follows on from Harrogate Theatre’s successful initiative to create Harrogate Box Office in April 2011 – a one-stop shop for booking a range of entertainment happening at multiple venues and festivals within the region.

Negotiations between Harrogate Theatre and Harrogate Borough Council/Harrogate International Centre over the long-term strategic management of the Royal Hall may be still ongoing.

But the theatre’s impressively broad new line-up for its spring season includes a welter of major shows at the Royal Hall ranging from the Moscow Ballet’s Swan Lake and a Johann Strauss Gala to Dara O’Briain, Bob Geldof, Honor Blackman, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson and Tony Christie.

The new season will also see Harrogate Theatre continue to be a cultural hub as it launches an Associate Company Scheme, which supports, mentors and develops artists and performers of the future.

The first two associates this season are Reform Theatre Company and Thunder Road Theatre Company. As part of the scheme, they will have access to artistic and business support, professional development, rehearsal space and opportunities to showcase their work.

l Tickets for the new season are available now online at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk or through the Harrogate Theatre Box Office 01423 502 116.