A figurehead of theatre in the North of England will be among the acts making up the new spring and summer season at Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal.
The actor and director Barrie Rutter OBE, best-known for setting up the pioneering touring company Northern Broadsides, will be presenting a one-off fundraising gala performance on Saturday, March 21.
In an evening of poetry and prose, Barrie will share tales and anecdotes from his life and career that took him from son of a Hull fishworker given a part in the school play to Royal Shakespeare Company actor and director of one of the country’s foremost touring companies.
All proceeds from the evening will go towards the theatre’s recently launched A Living Theatre Campaign to safeguard the future of Britain’s oldest working theatre in its original form.
Alongside Barrie Rutter are many other leading performers from the world of drama, comedy and music who are also part of the new Spring and Summer line-up, on sale from Wednesday, January 15.
The first two shows of the season are both firm comedy favourites.
On February 20 is Rose d’Or winner for radio comedy Paul Sinha.
He has also appeared on Radio 4’s Just A Minute and The News Quiz and on television’s QI, Would I Lie to You? and The Chase. Paul is followed by Arabella Weir on February 29, the bestselling author and star of The Fast Show and Two Doors Down with her new show Does My Mum Loom Big in This?
Later in the season, Troy Hawke makes a welcome return to the Georgian on April 24 with Tiles of the Unexpected, a show that picked up multiple comedy awards at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe.
Not to leave out the children, there will be a matinee performance of Comedy Club 4 Kids on April 4, a family friendly show with stand-ups and sketches suitable for everyone over six.
Drama is particularly well-catered for in the season ahead.
On March 6, the popular Lipservice theatre company present the hilarious railway spoof Strangers on a Train Set which is followed by The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde from Arrows and Traps Theatre on March 7.
Based on the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, the piece brings a modern twist to the gothic classic tale and sets this edgy drama in the US White House.
Arrows and Traps return later in the season with Chaplin: Birth of a Tramp on May 16, which tells the enigmatic story of the world’s best-loved clown.
Reaching further back into history is a new version of Geoffrey Chaucer’s timeless classic The Canterbury Tales on March 12, which promises to be fast, furious, filthy and funny!
Music lovers are set for a varied programme of performances with everything from pop to opera.
World-class saxophonist Snake Davis who has recorded with artists from McCartney to The Eurythmics will be taking to the stage on March 13 with singer-songwriter Chris Bannister in a fun acoustic duo set.
Fans of the Carpenters will be delighted by the sounds of Solitaire on March 14, a five-piece band dedicated to capturing the original Carpenters’ live experience. Another popular tribute band is Arrival – performing on June 18 and 19 – who have been voted Best Abba Show by the UK Abba Fan Club for seven years running.
Not to be missed on May 15 is the Australian pianist David Scheel, whose entertaining musical comedy show is a hilarious send-up of classical music.
For something a bit different on the musical scene, guitarist, composer and ukulele virtuoso, Richard Durrant, will be calling in at Richmond on June 13 as part of his musical cycling tour. Starting in Orkney and finishing in Brighton, Richard will be playing wonderful music in wonderful places as a way of highlighting the climate crisis.
Another great night out is an evening of Good Old Days Music Hall on 20 June when the celebrated Marske Choir will be attempting to raise the roof with a veritable ‘pot pourri’ of performers; and Mozart’s sunniest comedy The Marriage of Figaro will be performed by the accomplished North West touring company Heritage Opera on 25 June.
The Georgian Theatre Royal is also pleased to be part of the prestigious Swaledale Festival, with the world-famous People Show Cabaret on 27 May and Pneûma, a piece of dance art, on 30 May.
Back by popular demand is the History Wardrobe on 25 July with one of their new presentations What Were We Thinking?! that expertly brings to life that orange-and-brown decade of the seventies through its fashion, politics, art and literature.
The Georgian is fortunate to be able to showcase the immense talent of a wide range of community groups, and nowhere is this better illustrated than the One-Act Play Festival on 18 and 19 April – the northern round of a national competition for amateur dramatic groups.
Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society present Tom Stoppard’s comedy masterpiece Arcadia from 26 to 28 March, followed by Richard Harris’ warm-hearted comedy Stepping Out from 30 July to 1 August and 5 to 8 August.
Richmond Operatic Society prove that the Yorkshire hills are truly alive with The Sound of Music from 20 to 23 May and there will also be several performances throughout the season by students from The Georgian Theatre Royal Youth Theatre.
Making their debut on 16 and 17 April, will be the Theatre’s new young professional theatre company – The Butler Company – with their performance of Noel Coward’s classic comedy, Blithe Spirit.
Details of all shows and events are given in the newly published programme brochure available at the box office, via the website www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk or by calling the box office on 01748 825252.