Venue to be centre stage for playwright’s latest creation

Garry Cooper, left, and Nick Bagnall, artistic directors of the Milton Rooms will welcome playwright Jim Cartwright to the arts venue.

Garry Cooper, left, and Nick Bagnall, artistic directors of the Milton Rooms will welcome playwright Jim Cartwright to the arts venue.

AN internationally renowned playwright has chosen the Milton Rooms in Malton as the venue for the world premiere of his latest production.

Jim Cartwright, author of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, has developed close ties with the arts venue’s artistic directors and jumped at the chance to collaborate on the new venture which will be unveiled to the public in December.

It is yet another coup for directors Garry Cooper and Nick Bagnall whose ambition to transform the Milton Rooms into a leading centre for the arts in Yorkshire has already attracted the heavyweight support of patrons such as Bill Nighy and Jools Holland as well as the The Prince’s Regeneration Trust.

Explaining his involvement with the Milton Rooms, Mr Cartwright said: “Earlier this year, I was invited to The Milton Rooms by Nick and Garry to take a look at what they were doing there.

“Their evident passion for the The Milton Rooms was irresistible and I was intrigued. I knew that if these two men of the theatre, with their combined calibre and experience, had come together to focus their talents on a project such as this, it would definitely be worth investigating. I was right. When I saw first-hand what they had already achieved and heard of their ongoing plans for the Milton Rooms, I could not help but get involved. And so A Christmas Fair was born.”

A Christmas Fair will be set in an old village hall as villagers set up their stalls for the annual festive fair - at which the audience themselves will also be able to buy their last-minute Christmas gifts.

Amidst the bric-a-brac, tombola and crafts, hilarious and heartbreaking stories will emerge - all fuelled by the powerful Christmas punch at the refreshments table.

Young love seems imminent, the vicar has his mind elsewhere, the caretaker just wants to go home while Veronica needs all hands on deck to make this fair a success.

As well as writing the play Jim Cartwright will also be directing the production, auditions for which are being held next week in Yorkshire and London with the actors due in Malton by November 19.

Garry said: “Following the huge success of A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year we are really excited to present A Christmas Fair by Jim Cartwright. To have a major playwright and director of his calibre put his faith in the work we are doing here at the Milton Rooms is phenomenal. It’s a big boost for all of us here for this to be happening and it will certainly put Malton and Norton on the national map.

Mr Cartwright’s plays are performed around the world and have won numerous awards.

His first play, Road, opened at the Royal Court in 1986 and starred Ian Dury. Now considered a modern classic, Road won the Samuel Beckett Awards, Drama Magazine’s Best New Play award and was joint winner of The Plays and Players Award and The George Devine Award.

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice was written for the Royal National Theatre and transferred to the West End in 1992. Six years later, it was made into the hugely successful feature film Little Voice, both productions starring Jane Horrocks.

A Christmas Fair will run from December 13 to 16 and 20 to 23 at the Milton Rooms, Malton.




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