Theatre Royal Wakefield gets ready for 120th anniversary

Murray Edwards, Managing Director of Wakefield's Theatre Royal.
Murray Edwards, Managing Director of Wakefield's Theatre Royal.

A special celebration event will mark the 120th anniversary of the Theatre Royal Wakefield next week.

Sir Rodney Walker, honary life president of the Wakefield Theatre Trust, will welcome guests at the event on Wednesday - 120 years from the day the doors of the Westgate theatre opened for the first time. It will also mark a record-breaking year for visitor numbers.

Sir Rodney said: “The event isn’t just a celebration of the past. It’s almost the beginning of the next phase for the theatre. That’s the way I am viewing it. The theatre has become a well-established part of the Wakefield scene which is a major achievement 28 years since we reopened - but now there are other things to do.”

Sir Rodney took to the stage at the theatre back in 1981 and asked the people of Wakefield to help bring the Westgate venue back to life.

He added: “When I stood on the stage I honestly did believe it was going to happen.

“Public funding both locally and nationally is going to get more and more difficult to secure so the key to the theatre’s future is to get both the community and businesses in the city more involved.”

Guests at Wednesday night’s event will include supporters of the theatre and members of the venue’s 120 Champions Club.

Murray Edwards, the theatre’s executive director, said: “We’re so proud to be sharing this moment with so many people. Our recent results have shown that the theatre really is at the heart of the community - without the regular attendance of our committed audience we simply wouldn’t be here. As a national treasure the theatre ranks alongside other Frank Matcham venues including the world famous London Palladium and we want to ensure that it continues for years to come.”

To support the theatre call Gavin Leonard on 01924 440 060.