Next Events

The 39 Steps

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The 39 Steps is a melodrama adapted from the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock and rewritten by Patrick Barlow in 2005.

Rowntree Players

Thursday 5 March to Saturday 7 March 2015

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Music Night presents a Frank Sinatra Tribute

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Frank Sinatra Tribute Evening celebrating Old Blue Eyes 100th birthday!

Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Sunday 8 March 2015

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The Wedding Singer

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Celebrating MPS 50th Anniversary

York St John Musical Production Society

Thursday 12 March to Saturday 14 March 2015

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A Little Night Music

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A tangled web of love, passion and endless possibilities in Sondheim’s most popular show

York Musical Theatre Company

Wednesday 18 March to Saturday 21 March 2015

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Press Release

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre comes under the ownership of York St John University

The ownership of York’s gem of a community theatre, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, passed on Friday 20th April 2012 from Nestlé UK and Ireland to York St John University. The name and management of the theatre will remain unchanged. The Joseph Rowntree Theatre Ltd will continue to manage and run the theatre under the terms of its lease, providing essential performance facilities to many of the city’s various arts groups.

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre is a beautiful art deco style theatre which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2010. It was built by the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust (now Joseph Rowntree Foundation) as a venue to provide great quality, reasonably-priced entertainment for the people of York. Today, now run by the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Ltd, a registered charity, it is the venue of choice of more than 30 local performing groups, and is staffed by more than 150 passionate volunteer supporters, both front of house and backstage. The huge range of shows produced by its hirers stretches from musical theatre to ballet, opera to pantomime, and brass bands to traditional drama. Over the past decade, more than £280,000 has been invested in the upgrading and upkeep of its facilities, with full auditorium refurbishment and the installation of fully up to date sound and lighting systems. This money was raised by the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Ltd from regular fundraising, and from its many loyal, local supporters.

The theatre fits well into the University’s portfolio, given York St John’s long tradition of involvement within the performing arts sector. There is a 1942 covenant on the theatre, placing responsibility on the owners and users to maintain its use as a theatre, and so the long term future of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre as a performance venue remains guaranteed. The same covenant decreed that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation would be given the first option to buy the theatre if it were to be sold. The Foundation declined to take up this option, resulting in York St John taking the opportunity to purchase the theatre.

Dan Shrimpton, Managing Director of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre said: The Joseph Rowntree Theatre is a fantastic venue which has been vastly improved in the last eleven years; this change in ownership secures the future of the venue for all the community arts groups in the city.

The theatre’s board gratefully acknowledges Nestlé’s great support for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre over the past eleven years, during which time it has been run as an independent charitable trust. Nestlé’s invaluable assistance has helped to preserve and develop this precious part of the Rowntree legacy, which will continue to be run for the benefit of the people of York.

The involvement of York St John University provides an exciting opportunity for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre for years to come.

Contact: Dan Shrimpton