The Joseph Rowntree Theatre opened in 1935 and is an interesting example of an inter-war theatre designed by the architect Barry Parker. The exterior of the theatre is a functional yet attractive piece of thirties design, whilst the interior has all the characteristics of the Art Deco style.
Since 2001 the theatre has been run by a charitable trust. The trust aims to provide a venue for the presentation of the performing arts for the City of York and surrounding areas.
Since 2003 a major series of refurbishments have been undertaken, including replacing the auditorium seats and carpets, redecorating the complete interior, upgrading the stage lighting and overhauling the sound system.
The main body of the auditorium has 244 seats with a central aisle and 2 side aisles. The balcony has 118 seats in 3 blocks with 2 aisles. There are 3 wheelchair spaces at the rear of the stalls — these seats should not be released for general ticket sales. The total seating capacity is 362.
A small box office is available for sale of tickets on performance nights only, and does not sell tickets for future productions. The hirer provides box office staffing for the performance nights. Tickets may be sold through hirer's chosen outlet — for example the Theatre Royal box office.
Sweets, soft drinks and ice creams are available before the performance and during the interval.
The front of house space is limited and no other selling can take place in the foyer area.
Toilets for audience use are located off the front of house area. An additional toilet fitted for disabled patrons' use is located on the side corridor.
Car parking for the audience and cast is available within a short walk from the theatre.
On performance nights the Theatre opens its doors 30 minutes before the start of the performance.
A 15 minute period is allowed after the end of the performance for patrons to depart.
The stage manager unlocks the building to allow cast and crew access via the stage door at the start of the hire time — normally 6pm in the evening or 1pm for matinee performances. The building is locked 15 minutes after the performance finishes — cast and crew must leave by this time.
The Management Board has a team of volunteers who help at the theatre in a number of different ways.
The technical side will consist of a resident Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager for the organisation and safety of your production and will control your production in respect of flying and lighting. The stage manager is also the management board's representative during rehearsals.
As part of our licence requirements we have volunteer stewards who will be front of house for each performance. They will sell programmes as well as guide people to their seats. During a performance there will be two Duty Managers/Board Members present.
We have a separate document that details the publicity provisions for hirers — please see our Publicity Policy.
Please make yourself fully aware of current legislation regarding child performers — advice can be found at http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/ (search for Children's Performance License).
The theatre requires that for children aged 10 years and under there must be 1 chaperone per 5 children; for children aged 6 years and under there must be 1 chaperone per 2 children.