What's Up in Watford?

A brand new 500-seater open-air theatre is set to materialise this July in Cassiobury Park, Watford’s largest public open space. Formerly the estate of the Earls of Essex, it already has sports facilities and children's areas in addition to designated nature reserves and during the year it attracts around 800,000 visits and plays host to sporting and entertainment events.

"Arts, entertainment and culture will play a vital part in rebuilding our confidence and enthusiasm for life ”

Dan Clarkson of Harlequin Theatricals is working with Watford Palace Theatre and Watford Borough Council to secure the idea as part of its collaborative cultural strategy. The venue will run from 23rd July to 8th August 2021. He welcomed the venture saying, “It is with great excitement that we are able to bring The Stage in The Park to Cassiobury this summer. Sharing this brand-new outdoor experience with the community means so much to us …. presenting a dynamic season of diverse cultural entertainment from popular children’s shows to top comedy performances, from electrifying music to engaging community theatre, from emerging local artists to well known names. This is a chance for us all to safely come back together and enjoy the arts like never before...”. The venue will also offer food, a fully licenced bar and stalls from local suppliers and creative businesses.

The broad programme will include a performance from the recently established Palace Young Company. James Williams, Associate Director at Watford Palace Theatre said, “We’re looking forward to meeting new young creative voices and performers in the town”.

Welcoming the initiative, Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor commented that the town was looking forward to “showcasing some of the country’s top artists and performers, supporting local jobs and businesses and providing fantastic events for people of all ages. Arts, entertainment and culture will play a vital part in rebuilding our confidence and enthusiasm for life ..”.

Meanwhile, Watford Palace Theatre reopens its doors to the public from 22nd May with a programme including digital, interactive and live events and experiences. The Palace is also delighted to have completed a make-over on its website. It is now more user-friendly, has vibrant new branding and includes a streamlined booking experience. During lockdown the company also set up a new Youth Advisory Board: a decision making group for 14-25 year olds, who will work alongside the theatre’s Board and staff team to shape the future direction of the theatre.

Artistic director Brigid Larmour said “We’re very happy to be back! - outdoors, indoors and online, doing what we love best, with and for the community around us”. All we need now is some glorious summer weather and cheap day return, unless, of course, you are fortunate enough to live in Watford!

Palace Young Company can be contacted on: [email protected]

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