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Theatre Wins Heritage Lottery Fund Support For Britain’s Oldest Surviving Scenery
Wednesday - February 10, 2016
The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond North Yorkshire has received a grant of £71,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to enable the conservation and better display of Britain’s oldest set of scenery known as ‘the Woodland Scene’.

Painted between 1818 and 1836, the oil on canvas wings and backcloth depicts a path through autumnal woodland. Until recently the set has been on display in the exhibition space behind the stage.  However it has been subject to environmental damage and the current case does not adequately conserve or display it. Thanks to National Lottery players the Georgian Theatre Royal will be able to conserve and restore the scenery and display it to best effect.
 
Another element of the work on ‘the Woodland Scene’ will be to create a digitised copy and replicas that can be used on stage. There will also be various learning workshops designed around the origin, use and conservation of this scenery.
 
Commenting on the award of the grant Mirren Hunter the Project Director said “Thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to conserve and share this unique piece of theatre history with all our visitors.  As an organisation we do rely on our volunteers and this project will be no different, with plenty of opportunities to get involved.”
 
Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The Woodland Scene, at The Georgian Theatre Royal is a significant part of theatre heritage, not just locally but nationally. We are delighted to support this project which will conserve this important piece of theatre history for future generations to enjoy.”

The grade 1 listed Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond is the only eighteenth century theatre auditorium still in its original form. The Georgian Theatre Royal is also a great venue for live performances and currently hosts a wide and varied programme throughout the year.

The work on ‘The Woodland Scene’ is part of a larger project to re-develop the exhibition space, where the scenery is displayed, and to create a new education and learning centre. The project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and a generous legacy from Paul Iles, the Theatre’s formers Associate Director.      

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