A Brand New Theatre in Milton Keynes
And you won't believe where ...
POSTED BY DAVID PIBWORTH ON 24/04/2018 @ 8:00AM
I've been thinking of opening a theatre in Milton Keynes. Most of the venues in and around MK have outpriced themselves and made it impossible for small local theatre groups to make money ...
This new theatre in Milton Keynes is certainly going to be unique.
The only companies who seem to be doing Ok are those who get funding and that's something I've never had. I tried it once, but they don't seem to like light entertainment and nothing I'm involved in is apparently worthy enough, so we look to ticket sales and sponsorship.
"There are no obvious venues to take over or buy in Milton Keynes."
So, I happen to own a bit of the railway line between Bedford and Northampton which has some railway arches. Why I didn't think of this before is beyond me, but I'd just been to see 'The Tempest' in an eccentric little venue in Wales. I was talking about it to my wife, when she suddenly said: "Let's go and have a look at those railway arches". And so we took the dogs off down there and it's perfect.
Ok, we have to do some clearance on it as you can see in the photo above, and work will start in October to transform an overgrown railway arch into a theatre venue. A few theatrical pals and I will set to with chainsaws and strimmers and we hope to open for a season in 2018.
It's a lovely spot and the only area we can't control is the weather, but we have plans to be ready to cover the audience if rain sets in.
I shall keep you informed of progress, but expect A Midsummer Night's Dream, 'The Wind In The Willows and other less obvious productions as we aim to put on a 6-week season next year starting in August and I know it's going to be fun.
"We shall be using three arches. One for the stage, one for the bar and one for the green room."
If you'd like to be put on the list for our new theatre in Milton Keynes, click here to ping over an email so that we can keep you informed of progress and upcoming productions.
Until next time ...
More about David Pibworth ...
David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.
David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.
He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.
He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.
This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing Ã‚Â£10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.
David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.
He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!
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