Civic Accolade For Theatre’s New Heritage Attraction
Wednesday - December 14, 2016
A new visitor attraction in the popular tourist hotspot of Richmond, North Yorkshire, has received a prestigious town award at the end of its first successful season.
The Georgian Theatre Experience was selected by Richmond and District Civic Society for its Civic Amenity Award 2016 in recognition of the new initiative and its contribution to the tourist economy of the town.
The attraction – which tells the story of the UK’s oldest working theatre in its original form – opened its doors in July following a major redevelopment programme funded jointly by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a legacy from Paul Iles (a former associate director of the Theatre) to a total of £500,000. It has been a huge hit with locals and tourists alike and finished the season (alternating with Richmond Castle) as the first of 23 things to do in the town on the popular online tourist site Trip Advisor.
In presenting the Award, John McDonald, Chair of Richmond and District Civic Society, said: “The Civic Society is committed to keeping Richmond’s past alive and flourishing in the present. Therefore, we are delighted to make this award. The Georgian Theatre Royal is a national treasure and to see how its talented team of theatre professionals and volunteers keep its heritage constantly moving forward into the twenty-first century, makes us all very proud.
“The newly-completed Georgian Theatre Experience offers visitors to Richmond a very special and authentic flavour of the eighteenth century entertainment world, in a contemporary setting,” he added.
Visitors to The Georgian Theatre Experience are able to take a full guided tour of the auditorium, dressing rooms and stage, as well as spend time in the state-of-the-art exhibition area. This not only reveals what life was like for a Georgian actor but also conjures the sights and sounds of eighteenth century England in a rural market town.
The exhibition is also home to the recently restored Woodland Scene - Britain’s oldest surviving stage scenery painted between 1818 and 1836 - as well as old playbills, scripts and photographs. Special family days have been particularly popular with opportunities to dress up in authentic costumes and even taste Georgian food, as well as a series of lectures and events held in the newly constructed Paul Iles Learning Centre.
The Georgian Theatre Experience reopens to visitors on Monday 13 February 2017. Entrance costs only £5 per person (£2 for children) and tickets are valid for 12 months to enable repeat visits.
PHOTO: Clare Allen, Chief Executive of The Georgian Theatre Royal, is pictured receiving the Civic Amenity Award 2016 from John McDonald, Chair of Richmond and District Civic Society, in the Theatre’s original auditorium.