Dame Judi Dench urges the public to support the East Riding Theatre in Beverley

Dame Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench - Credit: Archant

Volunteers win star backing for new East Yorkshire theatre

Oscar-winning actor Judi Dench is urging support for a new Yorkshire theatre which opens at the end of the year. Dame Judi is the patron of East Riding Theatre now being created in a disused chapel in Beverley.

‘Theatre is a staple of the arts community and it’s fantastic that Beverley, with its rich cultural heritage, will benefit from both the venue and the visitors it attracts,’ said Dame Judi.

‘As the theatre is still seeking sponsors at this point, the support of the public is vital. It will enable ERT to present a world-class artistic programme and deliver innovative creative learning projects both locally and nationally.

‘This will inevitably attract visitors from all over the country to the East Riding and have a significant impact on the local economy.

‘As a Yorkshire born actress I am proud to be patron of this exciting new theatre and urge you to support it in any way you can.’

The theatre is the idea of actor and theatre director, Vincent Regan, who led a steering committee to look at the feasibility of the development. Their findings resulted in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) granting a lease on one of their disused buildings, a former Baptist chapel in the centre of Beverley. In April 2013, planning permission was given to convert the Edwardian building into a professional theatre.

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Building work is going on at the Grade II listed chapel to transform the venue into a theatre with seating for 200 people.

A team of 80 volunteers is busy working to get the theatre ready for its opening production in December by decorating, installing the theatre seats and building the stage.

East Riding Theatre’s official opening performance is Vincent Regan’s new stage adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, directed by Mike Friend. Opening night is Wednesday, December 17th and performances will run until Saturday, January 3rd 2015. But the theatre will first open its doors on December 12th to a fundraising performance entitled A One Night Stand with Barrie Rutter, featuring a choice of readings, memories and anecdotes from this well-know Yorkshire actor and theatre director.

There are different ways of financially supporting the not-for-profit theatre which is applying for charity status, including sponsoring a seat. Donations of work in kind, materials or cash donations will enable ERT to produce the best cutting edge and high profile performances. Meanwhile the theatre is appealing for help to pay for a permanent lighting rig. In return for donations supporters will have their names permanently displayed in the theatre building.

For more information about the theatre and to book tickets for future productions visit eastridingtheatre.co.uk