My HAC!

What does Helmsley Arts Centre mean to you? 

Is it your midweek movie hideaway, your place to be in the spotlight, a social hive to meet your friends, a place to exhibit your work or your local connection to the Arts? 

Whatever it is we would love to hear from you! 

How do I do it?

Send us your photograph and reply (or a short video!) to:

[email protected])  or via Facebook or Instagram @helmsleyarts using the hastag #MyHAC

With your permission, these videos will be shared on our social media accounts as well as being displayed in HAC for everyone to enjoy :) 

 

Here is a video from Becca Gregory aged 10 who used stop motion to show what Helmsley Arts Centre means to her. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! 

This #MyHAC comes from Lauren Barker who is currently on her placement year with HAC. 

This #MyHAC is from Esmé Schofield who is a member of the 1812 Youth Theatre, but has been involved with the arts centre from being 4 years old!

 
This #MyHAC comes from Abi who is part of the 1812 Youth Theatre!
 
I only joined the 1812 Youth Theatre around a year ago but I love it!!! I have met so many amazing friends, and I always look forward to our sessions! The Arts Centre has help me improve my skills, and learn new ones which I can use in so many different ways. One of my favourite memories is doing Panto last year, and I can’t wait to perform with everyone again as soon as possible! Thank you to everyone at the arts centre for welcoming me so well! Abi xx
Abigail
 
This lovely #MyHAC is from Lyla Watts aged 16 who is a member of the 1812 Youth Theatre!
 

 

 

This #MyHAC is from John Lister who is a member of the 1812 theatre company:

For me, MyHAC has given me a continual challenge during the 11 years that I've been performing there for 1812 Theatre Company.

I retired from formal work in 2008 when I was 54 - 7 years as a Business Development Director had burnt me out but after a quiet year at home I was ready for a different challenge and decided to return to the stage.  Thanks to an itinerant life I'd been a member of at least 15 drama groups all over UK and abroad but even this broad experience didn't prepare me for the uniqueness of the 1812 Theatre Group and the Helmsley Arts Centre.   
 After a couple of outings with Easingwold Players, the lovely - sadly late - Bromwyn Jennison encouraged me to audition for the role of Charles Condomine in "Blithe Spirit" which John Roberts was directing for 1812.  John was keen to crack on and proposed an audition over the phone!  Clearly he'd foreseen the need for virtuality in the theatre 11 years before COVID.  In the event, we settled for a quiet corner in the Easingwold Galtres Centre and I was duly cast.  Getting to grips with Noel Coward's plummy speech was a challenge but Erica Zarb and Paul Elm had an even bigger challenge designing the wonderful collapsing set for the final scene.
 
I think that 1812 is special because the company stages 5 productions a year, performs new plays written by local playwrights, takes productions on tour and has a great mix of talented directors who don't hesitate to push experienced actors out of their comfort zones!  During my 11 years with 1812 I've had the privilege of acting in three "world premieres" and performed in tiny village pubs with the audience literally on my knee.  And as for being shaken out of my comfort zone - well, in 2009 I would have been shocked if anyone had told me that within 5 years I'd be singing, waltzing and romanticising all at the some time (Private Lives 2015) and, frankly, I wouldn't have believed anyone who said I'd be playing the panto dame (2012, 2013, 2015)!     
 
And my favourite moments?  Well, there were plenty, but the first night of the world premiere of Martin Vander Weyer's "Around the World in Eighty Days" stands out as one.  I was fortunate enough to be cast as Phileas Fogg and was particularly worried about Act 1 Scene 3 in which Phileas makes a wager with his three Reform Club friends that he could travel round the world in 80 days.  Of the 3 actors playing these Reform Club chums, one hadn't learned his lines, one had learned them but had promptly forgotten them and one simply ad libbed throughout.  But my main concerns were the pronunciation of "Allahabad" which kept coming out as anything but "Allahabad" and describing the world tour in the right order. 
 
My principal interlocutor in this scene was "Mr Ralph" - the Governor of the Bank of England who was played by the legendary Glynn Price.  The scene went something like:  
 
Stuart: Really, Ralph, the world is no smaller just because steam enables you to go around it in, what, four months… 
 
Fogg: In eighty days! 
 
Stuart, Sullivan, Ralph: Eighty days!? 
 
Fogg: Yes, gentlemen, eighty days, now that the Great Indian Railway has been completed from Bombay to Allahabad, according to the Daily Telegraph… from London to Calcutta, via Brindisi (to audience) — that is in Italy — Suez and Bombay, 23 days by ship and train. Calcutta to Yokohama (to audience) — that is in? — (waits for answer) Japan, thank you — via Hong Kong, 19 days.  Then three weeks and a day steaming across the Pacific Ocean.  San Francisco to New York by rail, another week; and finally, New York to Liverpool and London by steamer and rail, 9 days — making a total of precisely…  
 
Just as I was thinking to myself, "that went well", Mr Ralph came in with:  

Ralph: Ninety days! 
 
So what do you do to rescue the whole premise of the play - just ignore the gaffe and carry on? - repeat the line at the risk of getting the route wrong? - or ...

Fogg:  Or even ... 80 days!
 
I felt as though I was thinking about the problem for at least 5 minutes but I'm assured it was only the blink of an eye.

And the other two favourite moments?  There's no competition - seeing the 1812 Youth Theatre performing "The Changing Room" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and "What are they like" at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough for the National Theatre Connections competition.  They were magnificent!

Finally, MyHAC continues to inspire me, particularly Stephen Lonsdale who is in his 80s and shares my passion for acting and trekking.  Stephen is still performing - you should have seen him steal the show in the "Victorian Melodramas"  at the White Lodge Hotel in Filey! - and is still trekking.  What an inspiration!