The Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company was established in 2017 to raise funds for the maintenance and development of the theatre while entertaining audiences with innovative new productions of both classic and contemporary musicals.
The in-house company was founded by producer-director Kayleigh Oliver, ably supported by assistant director Alex Schofield. Both had previously performed many times on the Joseph Rowntree Theatre stage and were keen to help build on its already enviable reputation as a quality, inclusive venue.
"We wanted to give back to the theatre as a thank you for the support it has shown performers and companies across the city for decades. Most theatres have their own company and, once we put forward our case, the board decided to go for it. They’ve been very generous, giving us free rein to choose our own shows and our own style".
The company launched in high-kicking, goose-stepping style with The Producers in February 2018, raising an impressive £4,500.
"We wanted to put on a fresh, challenging show that would be as much fun to be in as to watch. Our aim is to continue making ambitious choices, to keep aiming high, to have fun and to raise as much money for the ongoing development of the theatre as we can".
The company’s second production, Kiss Me, Kate, hits the stage in February 2019 with an expanded company in an even more expansive staging of Cole Porter’s classic show-within-a-show.
"It’s humbling to see so many incredibly talented people, with a range of experience, prepared to put themselves out there and audition for us. It makes us even more determined to ensure everyone gets a chance to shine. It might not be a big number but everyone will have their moment".
In future, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company aims to give other theatre-makers the chance to produce and direct fundraising shows, using the template for success established by Kayleigh and Alex with help from their production team and cast.
"By building strong foundations now, we hope to create a lasting legacy".
For details of how you can get involved in future shows both on stage and behind the scenes, contact email@example.com.