Get Set For A Dramatic Spring At The Best Theatre Around, Harrogate!! More Great Additions To Its Expanding Roster



Take a look at the TV schedules and it’s plain to see that drama is having a moment, with shows such as Call The Midwife and Downton Abbey scoring high in the ratings and dark stories like Broadchurch fuelling water-cooler chat. The screen’s no substitute for the stage, however, and our spring season kicks off with a whole heap of drama to get your teeth into. From Edinburgh Fringe hits to timeless texts given new energy and brand new (yet still classic) Yorkshire favourite John Godber, there’s no better place to see drama than live onstage.

A triumph at last year’s Edinburgh festival fringe, Les Enfants Terribles’ The Trench (Harrogate Theatre, Thursday 25 to Saturday 27 April) is inspired by the true story of William Hackett, one of the brave World War I miners who tunnelled under the fields of France and Belgium.

On June 22, 1916, a German mine exploded and Hackett’s tunnel collapsed. Writer Oliver Lansley uses live music, puppetry, film and physical theatre to explore the boundaries between fantasy and reality, loss and salvation, on one man’s epic quest.

Questing also lies at the heart of The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas’ epic 1844 revenge tale. Not known to shy away from a challenge, Thunder Road Theatre Company – one of Harrogate Theatre’s associate companies – found the adventure of turning such a complex, 1000-page novel into 90 minutes of high-octane theatre too tempting to resist.

When jealous minds conspire against him, young sailor Edmond Dantes is sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment. Helpless and isolated within the infamous Château D’If fortress, a chance escape sparks Dantes’ thirst for vengeance. The hero becomes the villain – and the villain will have his revenge.

Produced and developed with Harrogate Theatre, adapted by Polis Loizou and directed by Terence Mann, The Count Of Monte Cristo premieres at Harrogate Studio Theatre from Wednesday 1 to Saturday 11 May, before embarking on a trans-Pennines tour.

A quest to find himself doesn’t work out too well for Jack Munroe, the would-be hero of Losing The Plot (Harrogate Theatre, Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 May), the latest work from prolific playwright John Godber. Starring Steve Huison (Coronation Street, The Full Monty) as art teacher Jack and Susan Cookson (Casualty) as his beleaguered but canny wife Sally, and staged by The John Godber Company, Losing The Plot takes a hard look at relationships and also at working class kids’ access to the arts with Godber’s trademark insight and humour.

Ever topical, Godber uses Losing The Plot to address the modern sense of self: how we feel we have a right to success and often envy the success of others, even our nearest and dearest. This is the fourth play by The John Godber Company, which is back at Harrogate Theatre again in September with Teechers as part of the second All Points North festival, celebrating all things Yorkshire – and they don’t come much more Yorkshire than Godber.

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

PS: It’s been a hit in Newcastle, London and on Broadway and now global smash The Pitmen Painters is coming to Harrogate Theatre (Monday 15 to Saturday 20 July). Lee ‘Billy Elliot’ Hall’s richly funny and moving play tells the real-life story of a group of Geordie miners who, in the 1930s and 40s, became briefly celebrated as painters. Six years on from its premiere, The Pitmen Painters remains apposite: as budget cuts threaten the arts, Hall’s paean to culture for all sounds even more like a call to arms.

By Andy on April 3, 2013

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