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Actor urges audiences to give classical a try

Hugo SpeerHarrogate born actor and director Hugo Speer, who announced his partnership with Harrogate Symphony Orchestra in January, is urging people who have never been to a classical concert before to give it a try.

Speer, a former Harrogate Grammar School student, hopes to be able to take a break from his current filming schedule to attend the orchestra’s spring concert on March 24 at the Royal Hall. He wasn’t able to be at HSO’s Winter Concert but some of his family, including his mother, were in the audience to see renowned cello soloist Phillip Higham perform Elgar’s Cello Concerto.

After leaving Harrogate Grammar, Speer went on to study acting at The Arts Educational School but has always maintained strong ties with his home town and visits regularly to spend time with family and friends, despite a hectic acting schedule.

Some of his early roles were in The Bill and Heartbeat but it was his appearance as Guy in The Full Monty that shot him to fame and led to leading roles in film and drama. He played the brother of Nicole Kidman’s character in The Interpreter and has starred alongside many well known English actors in drama such as Clocking Off, Sorted, Bleak House and Taggart.

He also provides narration ITV’s Cops with Cameras and the BBC series Seaside Rescue.

Most recently he has won critical acclaim for his work as a director. His directorial debut was with the short film Mam, starring Josie Lawrence, Paul Barber and Ronan Carter, which has already picked up two awards, the Glimmer Award for Best Yorkshire Short at the Hull International Film Festival and Best International Film at the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival in New York.

He said he hopes to make it to the March concert where St Aidan’s teenage Caroline Heard will perform violin solo and two choirs from the school will take part in a rendition of Carmina Burana.

Hugo Speer said: 

It’s a fabulous programme that will appeal to anyone, whether they have a broad knowledge of music or not, and I hope people who perhaps haven’t been to an event like this before will give it a try.

The programme includes Rutter’s For The Beauty of the Earth and Carmina Burana by Orff.

Harrogate Symphony Orchestra’s conductor, Bryan Western, said he was delighted that Hugo Speer was involved with the orchestra’s activities.

Bryan Western said: 

His support has given us a huge boost and we hope it will help us to reach out to new audiences so that people of all ages and backgrounds can experience the delights of live music in the beautiful setting of the Royal Hall.

Harrogate Symphony Orchestra’s Spring concert is on 24th March at The Royal Hall. Tickets are available from Harrogate Theatre Box Office. Tel: 01423 502116 or visit


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