The House of Lords was the setting for the announcement that the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival will return to Harrogate in 2015.
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones and the outgoing mayor of Harrogate, Michael Newby were amongst the VIP guests to gather in the Lords on Tuesday to hear director, Ian Smith confirm he would bring the event to Harrogate for a second time next year.
With the 2014 festival counting down to its start in August, Mr Smith told those gathered that Harrogate was “a great town with great people”.
Mr Smith said: The reason we are coming back is because of the wonderful welcome we have had from everyone in Harrogate. The support we have had from the Royal Hall and everybody in Harrogate has just been amazing and we can’t thank you enough.
We want to involve the town and retailers and anybody who can benefit.
We want to encourage everyone who comes to the festival to explore Harrogate.
Mr Smith also revealed ambitious plans to transform Harrogate International Centre’s main auditorium into a recreation of London’s famous Savoy Theatre, which became synonymous with Gilbert & Sullivan’s brand of light opera.
Simon Kent, director of Harrogate International Centre and The Royal Hall, said: The fact that Ian has confirmed the festival will return in 2015, before we have even begun the 2014 event, is a great vote of confidence in the town, its facilities and its people.
The festival comes to Harrogate after 21 years in the town of Buxton and is expected to attract thousands of visitors, operatic societies from as far as New York and bring in more than a million pounds a week to the local economy.
Speaking shortly after the announcement in London, Coun Newby said: I think it’s very exciting news for Harrogate.
The ambition of the project for 2015 is matched only by Harrogate’s ability to stage it.
Main photograph: L-R: Harrogate International Centre director Simon Kent, Royal Hall manager Andy Lane and 2nd Baron Crathorne, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire