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Gilbert & Sullivan Festival moves to Harrogate

Jun 30, 2013

The 21st International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival is to move to Harrogate in 2014.

The festival is one of the UK's biggest annual theatre festivals, and will be taking place in 2014 in Harrogate between 2nd and 28th August 2014.

Simon Kent, director of Harrogate International Centre (HIC) and The Royal Hall, said: “It’s hard to overstate just how fantastic this announcement is, not just for Harrogate but for the whole district.
“We will be welcoming visitors from as far away as America and Australia, so it’s fantastic we are able to offer them venues such as Harrogate Theatre and the recently renovated Royal Hall – the perfect setting for Gilbert & Sullivan’s lavish operas.”

Ian Smith, who organises the entire festival from his home in Halifax, West Yorkshire, was in Harrogate’s Sun Pavilion last night (wed, Jun 19) to put his signature to the contract bringing the festival to the Yorkshire spa town in August next year.

He said: “Back in 1992 my first choice venue for the Festival was Harrogate. 

“Harrogate has many three and four star hotels offering a much wider choice and selection than most towns of comparable size and a highly efficient Accommodation Bureau which pulls together 40 major Guest Houses in the town. 

“The timing in 1992 was not right; today we think it is.”

He said: “‘Perhaps the most significant ‘add value’ reason for moving our festival to Harrogate next year is the fact that the Council, the theatres, the hotels and the local Tourist Boards have shown their enthusiasm and desire to have us and they have put together a package that means we can hold our prices and potentially offer even more value for money to our supporters. 

Mr Smith said he had “dipped a toe” into Harrogate last year when he brought his other project, Classic Fest to the town, and one which he now intends to double in length to 12 days in 2013.

Looking forward to the 2014 Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, he said it would include fringe performances as well as major productions in Harrogate Theatre and the Royal Hall.

He said: ‘’For those who want to ‘stay put’ we will be offering 15 hours a day of fantastic entertainment, morning fringe performances,  afternoon matinees in the outstanding Harrogate Theatre,  evening performances in Harrogate’s Royal Hall  – a glittering palace of gold which, of course, this year celebrates its 110th birthday following a multi-million pound restoration programme. The Americans will love it.”

Shannon Court Guest House has already made its rooms bookable via its website, so time to make your booking for what will be a fantastic festival.

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