Harrogate Theatres’ Summer Season Top Ten


There’s no guarantee the sun will have its hat on, but Harrogate Theatres has plenty of summer treats to make audiences hip-hip-hip-hooray.  From teens craving fame to inter-theatre darts, big band bonanzas to innovative nerdy comedy, here’s our top ten of ones to watch with us this season.  (It is, of course, merely the tip of our entertainment iceberg – there are more than 70 events, covering all genres, happening at Harrogate Theatres from May to August.)

Harrogate Theatre associates, Reform Theatre, breathes new life into Gordon Steel’s tale of teenage friendship, parenting and growing up fast with its production of Like A Virgin, at the theatre from Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 May.   Following BFFs Angela and Maxine’s bids for fame to a backing of Madonna classics, Steel explores how easily young lives are blown apart with guts and humour.

It’s not often that the worlds of theatre and darts collide, but those who have been yearning for it to happen won’t be disappointed by Best In The World, presented by Unfolding Theatre in association with Northern Stage and stepping up to the oche at Harrogate Studio Theatre from Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 May.  Exploring what it means and takes to be the best, the play charts the highs, lows and bananas involved in being at the top of your game.  On Friday 11 May, come and play in the first ever inter-theatre darts league – it’s what Jocky Wilson would’ve wanted.

If you’re after a faster tempo, Andy Abraham’s History Of The Big Bands will get you into the swing of things when it hits the Royal Hall on Thursday 17 May.  Fronted by charismatic 2005 X-Factor runner-up Andy Abraham, this buzzing big band show features a magnificent13-piece big band, a series of soloists and legendary tunes from the world’s greatest big band leaders.

Not enough jive talkin’ for you? Swinging At The Cotton Club on Friday 1 June at the Royal Hall takes the audience back to 1920’s NYC and Harlem’s hottest nightclub, The Cotton Club.  Featuring The Jiving Lindy Hoppers and Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra, this evening celebrates exuberant music and dance from a bygone era but still captivating imaginations today.

Those of a jazz bent will love American export Stacey Kent, one of the finest singers on the circuit, and performing at Harrogate Theatre on Sunday 3 June.  With six best-selling albums and a string of awards, including the British Jazz Award and a Grammy-nomination, under her belt, Kent is rarely round Harrogate way so this opportunity to catch her close up and personal is not to be missed.

Punters looking for a little more involvement for their cash will be hard pushed to beat our excellent mini festival, Two’s Company.  We’ve lined up some of the finest theatre from companies who specialise in creating unforgettably intimate and uniqueexperiences, from a lonely lady reworking cinematic and cultural clichés tofind companionship (Sleepwalk Collective’s As The Flames Rose We Danced To The Sirens, The Sirens, Harrogate Studio Theatre, Wednesday 30 May), to an immersive video goggle performance for two, where the audience is also the main character (Il Pixel Rosso’s And The Birds Fell From The Sky, Harrogate Studio Theatre, Friday 1 and Saturday 2June), to a very personal visit from the Avon lady (The Other Way Works’ Avon Calling, Friday 1 to Sunday 3 June).

Putting wonder back into classic fairy tales, The Wrong Crowd’s celebrated Nordic take on Beauty And The Beast, The Girl With The Iron Claws is set to wow Harrogate Theatre audiences from Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 June.  The king’s youngest daughter doesn’t want to stay home and look after her ailing dad; she’d rather follow her heart and run wild in the forest.  In doing so, she falls in love with a bear.  Puppetry, music and humour bring this dark fairy tale to enthralling life for children and adults alike.

Inventive and celebrated in a different way, Dave Gorman stretches the comedy genre to encompass his hare-brained schemes, such as finding andmeeting as many other Dave Gormans as possible (Are You Dave Gorman?) or testing whether astrology actually works (Dave Gorman’s Important Astrology Experiment).  He’s currently on his Power Point Presentation tour, which stops off at the Royal Hall on Wednesday 13 June and finds him performing a double-act with a projector screen.

Stand-up Alfie Moore is no stranger to finding the funny in unusual places, thanks to an 18-year career as a copper.  His show I Predicted A Riot tackles the history of protest, with regular digressions into tales from his years on the beat.  Moore counts Les Dawson and Dave Allen among his influences and has a similar talent for transforming the mundane into mirthful.

Bob Geldof is, arguably, better known for his political activism and attempts to end world poverty than for his tunes.  That’s not to say Geldof hasn’t produced some memorable songs; quite the opposite is true, and he’ll be proving as much when he visits Harrogate’s Royal Hall on Friday 25 May as the first date of his 2012 UK tour of his latest album, How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell.

So that’s our ten.  But there’s always room for one more, right?  Our award-winning Harrogate Youth Theatre is hitting the stormy (imaginary) seas of Harrogate for a swashbuckling adventure with itsproduction of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island from Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 August.  Parrots, cutlasses and buried booty at the ready.


Tickets for all these events can be booked securely online at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk or through the Harrogate Theatre Box Office on 01423 502116.

By Andy on April 16, 2012

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