Theatre Royal Wakefield is one of the smallest remaining auditoriums designed by world-renowned architect Frank Matcham and is located in the heart of Wakefield City Centre. The new Centre for Creativity is a major extension to the venue and offers a flexible café/bar space and studio theatre.
Theatre Royal Wakefield has a programme which is engaging and accessible to all members of our local community, and which maintains our reputation as a leading producing and receiving house. We cater for all audiences, programming a wide range of live performances from professional companies. Our live programming strands are Music & Musicals, Drama, Stand-up Comedy and Dance. In addition to this we have a commitment to programming high quality Family Friendly shows, providing engaging and entertaining productions all year round. We present approximately 260 performances per year in our Matcham Auditorium and we are building a performance programme in the Walker Studio.
We produce our own work including our hugely popular Pantomime each year and our celebrated annual Wakefield Youth Music Theatre productions, which consistently receive rave reviews. Our Creative Director is John Godber, award winning writer of plays such as Bouncers, Teechers, and Up ‘n’ Under, and together with the John Godber Company we have co-produced eighteen plays – and regularly tour nationally. Our productions have been described as ‘Socially relevant comedy with riveting acting’ (The Stage).
We are also immensely proud of being able to support community performances, regularly programming productions and dance showcases from local companies.
As well as a vibrant and varied programme of produced and touring work, the Theatre runs a busy Learning and Participation programme. Bespoke learning projects work across a number of identified at-risk groups including young people from low-income families, socially isolated older people, and adults working to improve their mental wellbeing. Many projects are free for participants, or offer bursaries to ensure that participation is not restricted by economic means. 25% of participants in our youth training programmes and youth productions benefit from a bursary scheme, which is directly funded by the local business community, through individual giving and through grant funding. In 2017-2018 our outreach work engaged with over 2,100 unique learners, providing over 13,000 instances of participation. In summer 2018, we opened our new Centre for Creativity – containing the Walker Studio. This new extension provides modern facilities to complement the historic Frank Matcham-designed, Grade II* listed building, which has stood on the site since 1894. The Centre for Creativity has improved accessibility, increased hospitality facilities and added a flexible performance and rehearsal space transforming the way that artists and audiences experience the performing arts in Wakefield.