County Councillors provide dramatic role models

Harrogate Dramatic Society has welcomed some additional expertise for its forthcoming touring production, Let Us Entertain You, which will be performed in locations in and around Harrogate.

the councillors at a rehearsal

North Yorkshire County Councillors Jim Clark and Geoff Webber have each allocated funds from their locality budgets to help to meet the costs of venue hire, play performance licence fees, props and equipment to take this exciting new venture out on tour to village halls and community venues. This will enable many older people to enjoy live theatre on their doorsteps.

Cllr Clark said: “Living in rural areas can present challenges and can result in people feeling socially isolated. The health and wellbeing benefits of creative arts are well known, and HDS’s touring production provides a unique opportunity to bring people together and build stronger links and partnerships in our communities.”

Cllr Webber added: “Live theatre can unite people in a shared experience and enable them to socialise, but it’s not always easy for people in rural areas to travel to towns or cities, so a touring production like this not only entertains, but provides a valuable service.”

A bonus of the councillors’ support is that as Alan Ayckbourn’s play, Gosforth’s Fete, forms the first half of the programme, HDS Secretary Alex Bird, who pays the part of Councillor Emma Pearce, can benefit from the real-life expertise of the councillors. While opening a fete and making the welcoming speech are duties well known to councillors, there are a few more chaotic adventures in store in the play, with amusing and lovable characters involved in this fete.

John Colston, Chair of the Society, said: “We are very grateful for the wonderful support and funding assistance from North Yorkshire County Council, which will enable us to reach out to more isolated communities and help to bring live theatre to them, as well as helping with the utilisation and sustainability of local village and community venues and resources.”

The tour includes:

  • Arkendale Community Hall, 22 March;
  • RAOS Hall, Ripon, 23 March;
  • Hampsthwaite Memorial Hall, 12 April;
  • Frazer Theatre, Knaresborough, 13 April;
  • Harrogate Theatre, 10 and 11 May;
  • Spofforth Long Memorial Hall, 17 May;
  • Coronation Hall, Boroughbridge, 18 May.

More details can be found on the Harrogate Dramatic Society website.

Locality budgets allow the 72 county councillors to respond to local needs and requests by recommending funding of up to £5,000 to support projects or activities that benefit the communities they represent.

This story was published 11 March 2019