Frazer Theatre’s history in new book

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By Graham Chalmers

The long and winding road which led to Knaresborough Players making their home at Frazer Theatre is told in a fascinating new book.

Fifty Years at the Frazer by Bernie Crosthwaite is to be launched, appropriately enough, at Frazer Theatre on Friday, March 7 with a display of past productions anda tour of the theatre.

Everyone is invited - all Knaresborough Players, past and present, everyone who has enjoyed a show at the Frazer Theatre, and anyone who has never visited Knaresborough’s hidden midget gem.

Thought tucked away down an alley off the High Street in Knaresborough, this splendid little venue has seen and done a lot.

The new book begins with a prologue, those brief homeless days after the Knaresborough Players were formed in 1962.

Virtual nomads, founder members Mike Rafferty, Harry Crosgrove, his daughter Eileen and daughter-in-law Betty, Bernard Downhill, Ted Gatehouse and Gladys and Ken Nowell found a chilly dilapidated hall, known as the Elephant and Castle Ballroom.

The Players were tenants for many years, but now own and run the theatre which they have gradually transformed into the intimate but fully-equipped venue it is now.

The book shows how it has often been an enormous struggle to keep going: several times in the last half century the theatre was nearly lost to the town.

Eventually, of course, the Players won and renamed the Frazer Theatre after the philanthropist who first rented it to the society.

The book, which is fully illustrated, is a story of triumphs and disasters, hard work and dedication, of heroic bouts of fund-raising, equalled by the generosity of the people of Knaresborough.

The book, which is fully illustrated, is a story of triumphs and disasters from their very first production, The Happiest Days of Your Life, which took place in May 1962, to their most recent show - Dick Whittington which ran to the start of this month.

The book launch takes place at the Frazer Theatre on Friday, March 7 at 7.30pm.

Entry is free and the wine will flow. Books will be on sale on the night.

All proceeds will go towards the upkeep and improvement of the Frazer Theatre.