By Graham Chalmers
From Simon Callow to Al Murray and Agatha Christie to the annual panto, Harrogate Theatre’s new programme has it all covered.
The brand new Harrogate Theatre brochure is currently landing on doormats across the district and it’s packed with co-productions, great music, drama, dance, opera, children’s shows and the sixth Harrogate Comedy Festival.
Last year, Andy Parsons named Harrogate Comedy Festival as one of his top five comedy festivals in the world.
This year big names will be taking over both the Royal Hall and Harrogate Theatre, with Ross Noble, Omid Djalili and Dave Gorman performing under the gilt ceiling, and Arthur Smith, Jimeoin, Jason Byrne and last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Bridget Christie in the theatre’s main house.
Not part of the HCF but sure to prove popular will be Al Murray, who comes to the Royal Hall on Thursday, and Jimmy Carr who will appear at the same venue in May.
New venue The Crown Hotel joins the HCF mix, playing host to brilliant musical improvisers The Horne Section, among others. As always, the traditional panto is expected to be another huge hit - this year’s is the classic fairytale Cinderella.
The big news for drama fans is that one of Britain’s best-loved actors, Simon Callow is bringing his one-man show, The Man Jesus to Harrogate Theatre on Monday, October 27.
The autumn/winter season also see the theatre renew its successful spotlight on the best of Yorkshire in All Points North for the third year running.
Featured will be Northern Broadsides with a new version of Oliver Goldsmith’s classic She Stoops To Conquer, Associate company Reform Theatre presenting John Godber’s iconic Bouncers and Harrogate playwright Rachel Halliwith 253, a drama exploring the time Agatha Christie ‘disappeared’ in Harrogate.
Now that Harrogate International Centre features Harrogate Theatres’ music programming, live events there will include Jools Holland, Deacon Blue and Kate Rusby. The Royal Hall also has music from the likes of Clare Teal and The Hollies.
Elsewhere, Townsend Productions (of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists fame) are back with United We Stand, a show focusing on the vents that led to the conviction of the Shrewsbury 24 and the imprisonment of workers Des Warren and Eric Tomlinson – better known as The Royle Family’s Ricky Tomlinson.
Olivier award-winning English Touring Opera return to Harrogate Theatre for another short season of baroque splendour with Handel’s Ottone and Haydn’s Life on the Moon.
Other classical gems include Moscow Ballet – La Classique’s take on both The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, and Opera North’s New Year’s Viennese Whirl.