Call for show of support

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Dedicated volunteers in a century-old theatre company are rallying public support as they prepare to bring back summer performances to the group’s home patch.

Financial constraints mean that Matlock Musical Theatre will not be staging its annual show at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre this year, as it has done for the past five years.

Matlock Musical Theatre's production of Carmen in 2009.

Matlock Musical Theatre's production of Carmen in 2009.

Spokeswoman Jo Petch said: “Due to many factors our financial grounding became unstable this year forcing us to consider our future.

“The reason for this was in part due to the cuts in government funding of the arts, making it harder to find funding opportunities. The economic climate we are all currently experiencing causing a decline in the audience’s numbers, as with every society in the area. And due to the continued hike in outgoings for venues and services, such as musicians and set and costume hire, the cost of putting on a show continues to rise.

“This has meant that the committee had to take a very serious decision this year about continuing to drive the group forwards or calling it a day.

“We chose the former and have spent the winter putting on various fundraising events to try to make the society viable. This would not have happened if it wasn’t for the dedication, hard work and passion of the membership.”

Concerts in Chatsworth House, Haddon Hall and Hardwick Hall during the festive season helped to swell the company’s coffers.

Jo said: “We are currently in a position where we can put on a summer performance, in smaller, more intimate venues, but any additional support would be very welcome.”

Members are appealing for local businesses or organisations to act as sponsors. They are also urging anyone who wishes to perform, take on production or backstage roles or just be friends of the society to get in touch.

This summer’s production, Right Royal Revue, will celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in a performance featuring.show tunes, pop songs and comedy snippets from every decade of the monarch’s reign.

The revue will encompass everything from Zadok the Priest, which was sung at the coronation, through Beatles, Bohemian Rhapsody and Blackadder to Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s latest hit Love Never Dies and choirmaster Gareth Malone’s Sing London medley.

Long-standing members of the group, Sue Ahlburg and Kathryn Kersey, will co-direct the show, taking the helm for the first time. Once again, musical direction is in the safe hands of Delph Richards.

Kathryn said: “There will be something for people of all ages to enjoy and we will be creating a street party atmosphere where everyone can sing along, if they want, to celebrate this momentous year, in a good old British way.”

Right Royal Revue opens at the Imperial Rooms, Matlock, on June 15 and tours to Calver Village Hall (June 16), Bakewell’s Medway Centre (June 22) and Wirksworth Town Hall (june 23). Performances are at 7.30pm.

To find out more details or to contact the group, log on to www.matlock-musical-theatre.org.uk

l Matlock Musical Theatre was originally known as Matlock Operatic Society and founded in 1907.

Jo said: “The move to the Pomegranate was a must due to the lack of theatre space in the local area.

“We hope this will change with the exciting development of the Pavilion project coming to fruition in the next few years.”