BBC Documentary Follows York Theatre Royal Redevelopment



1967 Extension credit Roger Keech Productions LtdYork Theatre Royal is to feature in a BBC documentary on Monday 9 November on BBC One, covering the current redevelopment project and this summer’s huge community production In Fog and Falling Snow. The programme is narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi and is being shown as part of the BBC’s On Stage season; a major series celebrating Britain’s incredible theatre talent, from world-class actors to cutting-edge regional theatre.  The programme will be broadcast locally on BBC One in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and then repeated nationally on BBC Four at 7.30pm on Tuesday 17 November.

Proscenium from The Birdcage credit Roger Keech Productions LtdFor several months cameras have been granted privileged access to all areas of the York Theatre Royal site as work on the £4.1million redevelopment has been taking place.  Interviews were granted with members of staff from York Theatre Royal, the construction company William Birch & Sons Ltd and York Archaeological Trust, giving insight into the project.  As work on the theatre progressed and the remains of St Leonard’s Hospital were discovered, the cameras were on hand to record the finds.

York Theatre Royal Auditorium September 2015 credit Roger Keech Productions LtdSince filming concluded in September, work on the theatre has progressed rapidly with the exciting new layout of the auditorium and front of house areas taking shape.  Where walls had been coming down, they are now going up again in new configurations, showing how open and spacious the Box Office, café and restaurant areas will be and the intimacy of the stalls with their new sightlines.  A massive skeleton of scaffolding known on site as ‘the birdcage’ has been erected in the auditorium in order for work to be carried out on the delicate and intricate plasterwork and decorations.  Carpenters have also been busy installing the new tiered seating in the Dress Circle and Gallery.

Work is ongoing at the theatre, and will re-open in spring 2016 with a new season of work which will be announced shortly.  During the closure, York Theatre Royal’s residency at the National Railway Museum continues with this year’s pantomime Dick Whittington (and his meerkat) taking place at The Signal Box Theatre from 10 December – 24 January.

Abbigail Ollive, Head of Communications & Enterprises at York Theatre Royal said:

This is an amazing opportunity for people to see ‘behind the hoardings’ of the redevelopment project. With the theatre being covered in scaffolding, we get asked all the time about what is going on in the building and we’re really pleased to be able to show everyone what has been happening! We only have £65,000 left to raise in our fundraising appeal and we hope that seeing this programme might spur people on to make a donation and help us to reach our target.


Also captured on film was footage from backstage at In Fog and Falling Snow, the huge summer production which took place at The Signal Box Theatre and in and around the collection at the National Railway Museum.  Production staff, creatives and cast spoke about the play, including the only professional actor involved, George Costigan.

The BBC On Stage season will be led by BBC Two’s major new adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Sir Ian McKellan. Other major new content across television, radio and online will include a 10-part Radio 4 documentary series on the history of black British theatre and screen presented by Lenny Henry.

BBC On Stage featuring York Theatre Royal will be screened at 7.30pm on Monday 9 November on BBC One in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. It will be repeated nationally at 7.30pm on Tuesday 17 November on BBC Four.  The programme will also be available on BBC iPlayer.


York Theatre Royal is still fundraising for its £4.1million redevelopment. You can donate securely online at