Open air theatre line-up is revealed

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DAME Kiri Te Kanawa will be returning to the Open Air Theatre this summer, it has been revealed.

The announcement was made by operators Apollo Leisure and Resorts Scarborough when they outlined three major events for the summer season.

The international opera star will be performing as part of the Last Night At The Proms on Sunday August 28 – with more names expected to be confirmed

in the coming weeks.

Sam Shrouder, a spokesman for Wychwood festivals – the company appointed by Apollo to manage the Scarborough site – said: “We are talking to a couple of other acts that may come here, but nothing is guaranteed yet.”

In addition to August’s operatic event there will be a repeat of last year’s ‘80s Rewind event, which will be on Sunday July 24.

The line-up will feature classic 1980s acts including ex-Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley, ABC, Go West, Cutting Crew, China Crisis, The Christians and Dr and the Medics.

And there will be a new two-day event, called Scarborough Fair, which will feature a day of brass band music and a day of folk music.

Brass and folk acts booked to appear over the weekend of Saturday 13 August and Sunday August 14 include: The Fairey (Geneva) Band, Desford Band, Bellowhead, The Demon Barber Roadshow, Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick.

The news comes just weeks after the news broke that Sir Elton John would be performing at the season’s opening event at the beginning of June.

Mr Shrouder said: “It was absolutely massive for us to get Sir Elton John. It’s probably the biggest such event in Scarborough.

“For it to sell out in three hours was phenomenal. He hasn’t played in this area for some time.

“Last year the ‘80s Rewind was a massive success – not only for the audience but for the bands that played it. Between them this year’s acts have 117 hit singles and albums.”

He added that the 1980s event would be an annual event, as would Scarborough Fair – which it was hoped could be expanded to cover a week.

He added: “Eventually there will be other things going on through that whole week. Not only at the Open Air Theatre but Scarborough Fair could embrace the whole town. The area is a good area for folk music and a lot of the artists live in the area.”

Mr Shrouder said that Dame Kiri Te Kanawa – who famously performed alongside José Carreras at the refurbished venue’s first event last July – did not need much persuading to return to Scarborough because she had enjoyed her last visit so much.

“She absolutely loved being here.”

It is hoped that the Last Night At The Proms will be an annual event on the weekend of the August Bank Holiday when the summer season would officially end with a classical performance and a fireworks display.

Paul Gregg, Apollo’s chairman, said the opening season had proved successful for the venue: “It gave us the opportunity to test certain events and attractions. Screening the World Cup matches was a big success. It was something for the people to enjoy and it created a great atmosphere in the Open Air Theatre.”

He added that they hoped to open every season with a major name.

He said: “We are delighted that the Sir Elton John concert sold out so quickly.”

David Archer, Scarborough Council’s strategic director, said he was pleased with yesterday’s announcement and the popularity of the acts heralded a spectacular second season for the venue.

“Visitors and residents will once again be able to enjoy the unique and very special sense of occasion that any event at the theatre offers and the secondary benefits this brings to the local economy will be welcomed by all.”

The venue underwent a £3.5 million refurbishment and was officially reopened by The Queen last May – it was originally opened by the Lord Mayor of London in 1932.

Before the theatre closed it was known for the musicals it staged, with casts of up to 200 people.

The last musical performed was West Side Story in 1968.

The new theatre boasts 6,500 seats, making it the largest operating open air theatre in Europe, but there will be an extra 2,000 seats added when the lake is covered over, as it will be for the Sir Elton John concert.

Tickets for all the new events went on sale at 9am on Wednesday morning (20 April).