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We're BACK!!!

We're BACK!!!

posted 01 Dec 2020

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre is one of the first York theatres to reopen after lockdown with a sackful of festive shows.

Having already staged a test event in October, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre is fully prepared to reopen its doors on the first weekend of December, with a professional theatre company all lined up to open the winter season.

The opening show of the season will be “The Snow Dancer”, from Badapple Theatre Company, a festive show suitable for the whole family and a great start to the Christmas countdown. 

Kate Bramley, Artistic Director of Badapple Theatre and founder of their Theatre on Your Doorstep project says, “We are elated to be bringing The Snow Dancer to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre next weekend to launch their winter season, safely of course! The whole team is so looking forward to bringing a little festive joy to York audiences of all ages.” 


The second show in the calendar is from the well-loved, professional company, Oddsocks, no stranger to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s stage.  This year, on 12th December, they will be bringing “A Christmas Carol” to the venue. This show promises sixty minutes of socially-distanced Christmas fun.

Dan Shrimpton, Chair of Trustees of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre says, “We’re delighted to welcome two professional theatre companies to open our winter season.  We welcome all types of performers, professional and amateur.  Under current government restrictions, we understand that local, amateur groups are finding it difficult to rehearse and perform, but we are in a strong position to be able to offer the venue to professional companies, in line with government guidelines.”

Preparations by the theatre were fully underway more than a month ago and, with financial help from both the Theatres Trust and the City of York Council, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre put measures in place to make sure that it is a COVID-secure venue. Seat covers, signage, a one-way system and all the necessary screening backstage and sanitising stations have been installed to make sure that audience, crew and cast are all kept as safe as possible.  

To complete the December schedule, the theatre is delighted that two of its very long-term, local hirers have each offered to produce a one night fundraising concert . 

On 13th December, the Steve Cassidy Band will be performing a special  concert, with all proceeds going straight to the theatre’s current fundraising efforts.


Steve jumped at the chance to perform in the reopening season, offering to appear without a performance fee so that the theatre could benefit fully from ticket sales.  He says, “The Joseph Rowntree Theatre is a unique and wonderful venue which has been delighting audiences with wonderful productions since its opening in 1935. It is a jewel in the crown of the city. So many unique and unforgettable performances have taken place there. Staffed by skilled volunteers backstage and front of house, the quality in all departments is equal to many much bigger and more expensive theatres. Without a doubt this is our favourite venue! Wonderful theatre, dedicated staff, and appreciated by its growing number of enthusiastic producers, performers and satisfied customers. “

The second fundraising concert is “Songbirds”, taking place on Sunday 20th December, a show by Jessa Liversidge and Malcolm Maddock, which had originally been scheduled to take place in the spring.  


Jessa says, “Malcolm and I were really looking forward to performing “Songbirds” on home turf at The Joseph Rowntree Theatre in April. We were both heavily involved in the Community Choir Festival at the theatre in March and were so disappointed to have to put “Songbirds” on hold. I am really looking forward to being reunited with Malcolm and a real audience in the theatre! We both feel privileged to be able to help the theatre in this way.” 

Tickets for the reopening season will be on sale from 2nd December for shows running from 5th-20th December either online or by phoning the box office on 01904 501935 between 10.00 and 14.00.  The physical box office at the theatre is currently closed.


We've reviewed and tested all aspects of the theatre to ensure the safety of all our volunteers, performers and audiences. Please be sure to review our safety regulations on the Plan Your Visit page ahead of your visit, for more information about how we can all keep safe as we return to enjoying live performance.



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