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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

Some fine shows 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…

Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom Fri 21 June 4pm; Sat 22 June, 10am, 1pm & 4pm 
This Summer, Ben and Holly, along with their friends including Gaston The Ladybird, will be bursting out of the TV set and onto the stage in an exciting and magical musical adventure packed full of games, songs and laughter! A perfect treat for even the littlest of audience members (I used to take the opportunity to sleep…that’s fine though, right?)!
Tropicana Nights Fri 5 July, 8pm
Dig out your leg-warmers and get ready to indulge in pure 80s heaven – as Tropicana Nights comes to Wellingborough and transports you back to your fun-filled youth (not the bits where you had sticky Pernod stuck in your hair the next morning)!
Into the Groove Fri 9 Aug, 7.30pm
Are you ready to strike a pose? Celebrate the incredible 35-year career of the best selling female artist of all time, and get ready to dig out your lacy gloves, conical bras and cowboy hats and join all the Madonna fans around the country preparing to get Into The Groove!
Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! An Evening with Gill Sims Fri 27 Sep, 7.30pm
Author of online sensation Peter and Jane; Gill Sims is the number one best-selling author behind Why Mummy Drinks, its follow up Why Mummy Swears and the recently announced Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A…. Join Gill as she is interviewed about her blog, books, character and much more!  
Swan Lake Fri 29 Nov, 7.30pm  
Following a sell-out performance of The Nutcracker in 2018, the Russian State Ballet are making a welcome return with the enchanting Swan Lake, the timeless and beautiful ballet that you don’t want to miss!
Aladdin Sat 14 – Tue 31 Dec
The Castle’s going BIG for panto this year! Christmas will be a spectacular carpet ride to Old Peking! Side-splittingly hilarious pantomime is the only way to get the family in the festive mood – and there’s a star lead on board too (watch this space)!




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