Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce at Harrogate Theatre

PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 March 2014

Alan Ayckbourns Bedroom Farce in full swing

Alan Ayckbourns Bedroom Farce in full swing

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Readers join us for an exclusive event at Harrogate Theatre

There’s something very special about taking in a matinee. It feels like a much-needed escape from everyday life; a cultural oasis in an otherwise ordinary week.

Is it any wonder then that a group of lucky Yorkshire Life readers left Harrogate Theatre with an extra spring in their step after enjoying a special matinee performance of Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce with the added bonus of a buffet lunch, welcome drinks and an exclusive Q&A session with director Robin Herford.

The frenetic play is one of Ayckbourn’s best-loved offerings, taking place over the course of a single night and concentrating on four outrageously self-centred middle class couples.

It was his first success at the National Theatre and has become a popular UK touring production. In 2002, for its 25th birthday, the play was revived in the West End, starring Richard Briers and June Whitfield as the pilchard-in-bed-scoffing, stiff upper lip oldies Ernest and Delia.

Robin Herford, who took the reins of the Harrogate Theatre production, ran Ayckbourn’s Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough while the prolific playwright was on sabbatical in the late 1980s. He initially joined the company in 1976 as an actor but, following a stint as associate director, was appointed artistic director of SJT from 1986 to 1988.

He’s perhaps best known for commissioning and directing Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of The Woman in Black, which has been running in the West End for nearly 25 years and has completed 10 national tours – with Robin at the helm of every production.

There are Scarborough connections with the theatre itself too. Harrogate Theatre, then known as the Grand Opera House, was designed by architect Frank Tugwell who also designed the Futurist Theatre in Scarborough and the Savoy Theatre in London.

The theatre has survived a chequered history to become one of North Yorkshire’s most popular performance venues offering a very broad range of entertainment including drama, music, comedy and pantomime. It also hosts a number of amateur companies and has a thriving youth theatre.

Many famous names of stage and screen have appeared in Harrogate including Trevor Howard, Charlie Chaplin, Sarah Bernhardt, Arnold Ridley, Brian Murphy, Kate O’Mara, Martin Shaw, John Noakes and Sir Ben Kingsley (originally from just outside Scarborough, to complete our trio of connections).

To find out more about what’s going on at Harrogate Theatre in the coming season, visit harrogatetheatre.co.uk

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