It's all happening at the Milton Rooms - 26th May 2011.

The Milton Rooms are being transformed at last.

The Milton Rooms is a complex building with great architecture from different periods, ranging from the Georgian “Assembly Room” to the art-deco main hall and the modern bar. It has been allowed to deteriorate over the years, but its potential is enormous. It is still well used for amateur dramatics, dances (it has one of the largest traditional sprung dance floors in the North) and community activities, but there are also opportunities for professional use.

A few years ago Ryedale District Council commissioned a report which recommended no less than five alternative multi-million pound schemes. Local Government economies have put these schemes on the back burner, and we are now looking at making the best use of the building as it is.

Instead of spending millions, grants from the Council, the County Council and the Fitzwilliam Estate totalling £34K have been used to convert the bar area into a studio theatre with new lighting and a state of the art PA system. The room can still be used as a bar or meeting room when not in use as a theatre.

These grants have also covered the cost of extensive redecoration of the main hall, including the refurbishment of the stage with new curtains, computer controlled lighting equipment, a new hearing loop, and PA system.

There are plans for Artists’ Studios, and a complete refurbishment of the old Parish Rooms area including the repair and restoration of the Georgian Assembly Room and the installation of a modern commercial kitchen to serve it.

The inspiration for these changes has come from the new Chairman of the Milton Rooms Committee, Garry Cooper, a professional actor and director, well known for appearances in Zen, Taggart, Criminal Justice, MIdsomer Murders and At Home with the Braithwaites. He is working in collaboration with West End director Nick Bagnall. Nick was the director of the production of Entertaining Mr. Sloane at the Trafalgar Theatre in which Imelda Staunton and Mat Horne appeared – as well as of many other well-known shows.

Garry says: “Nick and I both like the area and can see how these underused and dilapidated buildings have a real potential for a fantastic centre for the arts in North Yorkshire. It could be the base for our own productions, as well as for improved and more extensive community use. We are in discussion with some of the leading theatre companies in the country about bringing their work here – for example the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.”

Garry and Nick have used their extensive contacts in the world of entertainment to raise the public profile of the Milton Rooms. The Milton Rooms will be launched as a modern entertainment venue with a programme of events starting with a Gala Evening on 12th June hosted by comedy legend Barry Cryer, and continuing, over the next two months with shows including a performance of Shakespeare’s  Midsummer Night’s Dream with a cast of hundreds commencing in St Michael’s Church and moving into the open in the Market Place, and performances by the Peatbog Faeries, , Edwina Hayes, the Hut People, Paul Liddell, Jinski, Jess Gardham and Andy Stones.

Garry says: “The performers have agreed to put on their shows at minimum cost to promote the Milton Rooms. So tickets for most of these events are only £6 each. This project is vitally important to promote Malton. It deserves the best possible public support. Buy your tickets now.”


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