Joseph Rowntree Theatre offers free ‘behind the scenes’ tours and children’s workshops for York Residents’ Festival

31 January and 1 February 2015

Live theatre continues to grow in popularity in York, with the Joseph Rowntree Theatre on Haxby Road experiencing its busiest year in 2014, but anyone who wondered what goes on behind the scenes will have a chance to see for themselves during the York Residents’ Festival, 31 January and 1 February 2015.

Guided tours of the theatre – which is entirely run by volunteers – will take place on both Saturday and Sunday every hour from 10.00am to 3.00pm, including a look at the dressing rooms and other back-stage areas which normally remain hidden from the theatre-going public.  Participants will learn about the roles of the different people involved in staging a live production, from the stage manager to the spotlight operator, and discover how so much scenery can be stored for the larger productions.

On Saturday 31 January, younger visitors (aged 10 – 13) are also invited to join free theatre craft workshops, including games and activities which will introduce children to the joy of acting on stage.  There will be two workshops during the day – the first from 10.30am to 12 noon, and the second from 2.00pm to 3.30pm – run by the theatre volunteers.

“The Joseph Rowntree Theatre is a real hub for amateur performers from throughout the city and beyond, with many of the groups that perform here – including the Rowntree Players, Flying Ducks Youth Theatre, New Earswick Musical Society and York Musical Theatre Company – regularly looking for new members,” comments managing director, Dan Shrimpton.  “These workshops will provide younger ‘players’ with a chance to see if they enjoy being on stage, and if they do, can put them in touch with some of the groups so that they can audition for one of the many shows that are staged here!”

Children wishing to sign up for the free workshops should do so online at, as places are limited, and they should be accompanied at all times by a responsible adult.  There is no need to book places on the tours, which will run every hour from 10.00am to 3.00pm.

For more information on the tours, workshops or any of the forthcoming productions at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre – which include The 39 Steps, The Wedding Singer, The Wiz and Oliver! - please visit


For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698


About Us

Joseph Rowntree Theatre is York’s Art Deco theatre. Hosting concerts, plays, shows, pantomimes and musicals for the last 80 years by touring artists, groups and talented local companies, Joseph Rowntree Theatre has some of the most comfortable and roomy seats in York – perfect for relaxing and enjoying the show. All seats across stalls and the balcony have a completely unrestricted view of the stage; even the last ticket on sale guarantees a great seat! Its location on Haxby Road is just over a mile from the city centre, with free parking and public transport stopping outside the gates. Joseph Rowntree Theatre is part of York’s vibrant chocolate heritage, having been built by Joseph Rowntree as a community hall for those working at his confectionary factories, which still surround the theatre today. It continues to be a friendly, vibrant hub of live entertainment to which patrons return time and again. Since 2001 the Theatre has been run by a charitable trust to provide an affordable venue to over 30 performing hirers, thanks to the efforts of its 150 regular volunteers. These volunteers come from all walks of life, be they retired former members of amateur dramatic societies, or youngsters wanting to learn the skills of stage management and the technical aspects of theatre. 50 1935