Photo by Peter Crowe
Market Harborough theatre has a lot to celebrate. Not only is the Drama Society turning 90 this year, but it has been presented with the Queen’s Jubilee Award that it was honoured with in 2022. The award was presented at the theatre’s Heart and Soul Awards evening on Saturday 14th January, as part of Market Harborough Drama Society’s (MHDS’s) celebration of its most dedicated volunteers.
The volunteer-run theatre is bucking the trend set by other regional theatres, as it continues to flourish after its return to fully functioning following the pandemic lock-down. The success and value the theatre brings to the local community was recognised by the Lord Lieutenant Michael Kapoor last year, and the award has been presented this year by Deputy Lieutenant Mrs Sally Bowie.
Although the evening aimed to honour all the theatre’s 200 plus active volunteers, the society singled out a number of special people who, together, have clocked up nearly 400 years of service at Harborough Theatre.
VOLUNTEERS BEING HONOURED:
Marilyn and Ralph Holderness who celebrated their 40th anniversary of volunteering at the theatre last year! They have worked tirelessly as part of the stage management crew in addition to helping out with stewarding, costumes, hair, make-up, telephony, sound, filming, lighting, set building – and much more.
John Falconer who was instrumental in the redesign of the studio space in the theatre lounge as well as heading up the lighting team.
Marie Falconer a fantastic all-rounder who helps out with coffees and stewarding as well as being part of the wardrobe, hair and make-up department.
Alan Palmer who joined the society twenty years ago and who regularly helps out Front of House and in so many other ways.
Les Denton best known to theatre-goers as the man responsible for the all-important ice-cream – turning up rain or snow or blazing sunshine to ensure audiences have their interval treat.
Nick Lewis a former chair of trustees, member of the drama committee, actor and director, designer who has been supporting the theatre for nearly thirty years.
Jenny Hirst has been volunteering for over twenty years taking up roles such as secretary to the board of to the trustees and helping out front of house.
Ron and Maggie Kirk who have been actively involved in the theatre for over 15 years. Maggie floats seamlessly between front of house to centre stage, directing and working in wardrobe. Ron is a hugely talented set designer with many award-winning productions under his belt.
Tony Osborn another talented volunteer who has helped produce some fantastic designs over the years as head of set building.
Jan Wilson who has been with the theatre for over 50 years and is still acting, directing and is an active member of the Drama Committee.
Mark Bodicoat a hugely talented actor and director with a highly developed sense of fun, who has helped with front of house and the bar.
John Foreman a previous chair of trustees, and still an active actor/director. John was responsible for much of the upgrade work that took place over the past 10 years.
Helen Foreman was a long-standing head of wardrobe, and now one of the theatres’ best actresses she regularly helps out around the theatre and chaperones young actors.
And finally John and Jean West who have brought such joy to the theatre putting on a range of highly popular social events, Jean supervising the kitchen for many years, and John being a leading member of the set building team in the past.
Over 100 volunteers turned out for the event and were treated to an evening of entertainment from the theatre’s Heart & Soul band including Tracey Holderness, Mark Bodicoat and Lisa McLean.
Harborough Theatre is a volunteer-run, charitable incorporated organisation that puts on a wide variety of main auditorium and studio shows, social events and many other activities each year. MHDS welcomes new members – for more information, visit harboroughtheatre.com or contact the box office most mornings Mon-Sat on 01858 463673.