News from the South East

Published: 29 January 2012
Reporter: Sheila Connor

The Hawth, Crawley

Tales from Old Japan from The HawthFrom 1st February this year, the Hawth at Crawley will be under new management. Parkwood Leisure has been awarded a ten year contract by Crawley Borough Council, and this new deal is expected to save taxpayers over £2.5M over the ten years. The Company has developed an established reputation for high quality management and customer-focused service provision and has a strong track record in increasing the usage of the facilities it manages through financial investment and a flexible approach to community needs.

Chief Executive Andrew Holt commented “We look forward to operating the Hawth Theatre complex on behalf of the Authority... and are committed to working closely with the existing staff to ensure that this excellent venue continues to provide a first class programme of performing arts and cultural activities for the local communities and also the South East region of the UK. It is intended to maintain the current programme of events in the theatre and studio but will also develop the facilities in here as well as in the restaurant, marquee and bars."

The Spring programme, already announced, contains comedy, theatre, music, dance and film and in February includes The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular, Beyond the Barricade hits from the musicals, Tales from Old Japan for children and Crawley’s Got Talent where young people throughout the district have auditioned to showcase the very best of local talent.

Chichester Festival Theatre

The re-development plans for Chichester Festival Theatre have been approved by the local council and Haworth Tompkins's design for the theatre has been granted planning and listed building consent. The project, which proposes to take the building back to its original 1961 footprint and to redevelop the front and back of house extensions, received unanimous support from the planning committee. Fundraising can now begin, and work is expected to commence around 2013 to be completed around 2015.

The Minerva Theatre will continue to operate during this time and some programmes could be hosted elsewhere in the city.

In this, its fiftieth year, a major project is planned to celebrate, collect, conserve and share its unique heritage. This will focus on the physical heritage of the Grade 2 listed theatre building and the human and living heritage of the founding generation and audiences to the present day.

The theatre has received The Stage 100 Regional Theatre of the Year Award in recognition of its achievements during Festival 2011.

Artistic Director Jonathan Church said “‘We’re absolutely delighted to receive this award from The Stage. It’s very gratifying to have this acknowledgement of our work, particularly at the start of our 50th Anniversary year”.

The Stage’s judging panel voted unanimously for the Festival Theatre saying “It was a stunning year for this regional powerhouse... Jonathan Church's artistic choices continue to be pitch perfect.”

Festival 2012 will be announced on Thursday 9th February.

Meanwhile the Winter Programme continues with the returning Yes, Prime Minister until 4th February, followed by Carl Rosa Opera with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe from 13th to 18th.

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

The February programme begins with The King’s Speech, the original play which inspired the film, from 2nd to 11th.

Less that Kind Terence Rattigan’s ‘lost play’, from 14th to 18th, is touring for the first time.

Headlong Theatre presents Romeo and Juliet from 21st to 25th.

Opera Della Luna brings The Merry Widow from 27th to 29th.

The Yvonne Arnaud Cookbook containing 47 recipes donated by well-known performers who have all appeared at the theatre (including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Alan Ayckbourn and Jane Asher) is on sale for £9.99, with the money raised directly benefitting the theatre.

The Guildford Shakespeare Company

imageThe Guildford Shakespeare Company is again beginning its summer season with a production in the atmospheric Holy Trinity Church at the top of Guildford High Street. This time their choice is Richard III and performances are from 10th to 25th February.

Box office: 01483 304384

New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Matthew Bourne’s ballet continues until 4th February.

Spamalot returns from 6th to 11th.

Yes, Prime Minister is from 20th to 25th.

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