Revelries were in full swing as crowds gathered in 1920’s attire to celebrate The Courtyard’s 20th birthday on Tuesday 18 September.
The party started with various members of staff reminiscing about their favourite memories from their time at The Courtyard. These included a humorous recount from longstanding pantomime director and ex-youth theatre leader Estelle van Warmelo about walking in on a young James McAvoy swinging from scaffolding on the stage during rehearsals of West Side Story.
Following the speeches was a ceremonious cutting of a magnificent birthday cake made by the Courtyard’s very own Jane Tonks and Yvonne Thomas. Attendees were then treated to a curtain raiser performance from performers Sophie Armstrong and Laura Jackson before enjoying a screening of Kander and Ebb’s ‘Cabaret’, the first production to ever be performed at The Courtyard 20 years ago.
Further celebrations of The Courtyard’s 20th birthday will include a screening of Bugsy Malone, the first youth musical to be performed at The Courtyard in 1998, and a glamorous 1920’s themed Gala Dinner fundraiser featuring performances from The Courtyard Youth Theatre, X-Entricity and Hereford Academy of Dance. Both events will take place on Saturday 22 September at 2pm and 7pm respectively.
“Staff and customers come and go, but the essence of the organisation remains the same,” said longstanding Customer Sales Supervisor Ingrid Bain, “to provide arts for all, an accessible place to interact with others and enjoy a wide range of film, theatre, music, comedy, dance and visual art; long may it continue...”.
The Courtyard’s birthday also marked the beginning of a brand new fundraising campaign ‘I Heart CY 20’, launched to help The Courtyard raise vital funds to continue to provide quality arts provision for the Herefordshire community.
Items on the ‘I Heart CY 20’ wish list include funding to provide 20 bursaries to enable disadvantaged young people to attend youth theatre for a year and 20 new specialist arts toolkits so we can run high quality crafts sessions with older people.
For more information about I Heart CY visit courtyard.org.uk/i-heart-cy