What’s happening with The Castle theatre?
We had a very nice chat with the General Manager of The Castle to see what changes are afoot for 2019
It’s had a bit of a bumpy ride, The Castle in Wellingborough, but since the it’s new owners, Parkwood Leisure took over in January, there’s been a quiet strengthening in the theatre’s offering, making it once again, one of Northamptonshire’s main contenders for live entertainment. Like a phoenix, the venue which was closed by administrators and then taken on by the council, is now rising from the flames under the experienced theatrical wings of Parkwood who bring to the borough more than 20 years experience managing leisure facilities across the UK. The council has also committed cash to the improvement of the building and there’s a number of improvements afoot, including front of house and a whole new programme of shows. We had a chat with General Manager of The Castle, Martin Cleverley, to see what changes are afoot for 2019.
A change in programming (and perception)
Parkwood has plenty of experience so they want to give a sense of security to us locals. In an era where buildings are getting bulldozed for more housing, they’re very keen to keep theatre alive in Wellingborough! Live entertainment is going to be big for the Castle. They want to offer a more varied offering, catering to young kids right through to the older demographic (who have historically been a good audience for the theatre, especially on the cinema offering). They want to focus heavily on families, because parents will come along with their kids and see what else is on for them.
It also changes the mindset, so kids then know that going to the theatre is an option, and the next generation of audience is created. On top of family stuff, there’ll be a focus on drama, music and comedy and they want to showcase more comedians. Martin also manages the successful Hazlett theatre in Maidstone where they have an Edinburgh fringe pre-festival and get lots of burgeoning talent in. He has similar hopes for The Castle, which is great news for Northants theatre goers and comedy lovers. On top of that, they’ll be looking to bring up some BIG West End touring shows next year (watch this space, but you heard it on Muddy first)!
A new look
Front of house and all three floors are getting a revamp, which includes the bar and restaurant; the latter of which is going to be a proper pizza eaterie. The bar generally has a busy vibe before a big show, and they’re keen to make use of the space as a great meeting place. As always, parking will be free, and the benefits of a pizza offering is it’s quick and easy if people are in a rush. No doubt we’ll be along to check it out so we’ll keep you posted!
A humdinger of a pantomime
For lots of theatres, no pantomime means no theatre; that’s how important these productions are. Muddy will have more info on this next month, but word on the street is they’re talking to a celebrity female lead and the production is going to be bigger and better than ever (few more deets below)! Alongside the new programming, it really does look like The Castle could become a destination spot in Wellingborough and we really hope so, because local theatre is so important and it’s brilliant to have a beating heart in a community, rather than just bulldozed buildings and new housing.
Below are some highlights for 2019…