Damian Cruden’s Talk Part 2

Here we have another perspective about the talk delivered by the artistic director of the Theatre Royal – Damian Cruden. This time Wilf, who attended the event organised by ISSP for year 7 & 8, gives us their views on the talk.


In the lecture on the 31/1/2019, I felt transported to a world from the past. When the age of York Theatre Royal came up on the screen I was amazed (275 years old !!). Damian Cruden, artistic director of York Theatre Royal gave a great lecture and there were so many facts to take in! So I made some notes on my phone.

I was stunned by learning how much it cost to transfer the train used in the railway children, when the show went on tour to Toronto. It was a staggering £200,000! Damian said “25% of the population of York went to see the pantomime this season”. He also said that in the days of Shakespeare, they had a circular theatre (like the Rose Theatre that we had in York) in the open air where the players would walk amongst the audience.

“Back in the day” people illegally held theatre performances and said don’t pay for the performance pay for the songs. York Theatre Royal puts on performances for 48 weeks of the year. The rest of the time they use to carry out maintenance. I learned where the term “Box Office” came from – people would buy a box for a particular night or nights of the week, for the whole season. The boxes where typically in the dress circle, high up, with good views. The stalls were where the poorer people would stand, along with the servants of those who’d paid for boxes. It was often a place of business transactions between people on opposite sides of the theatre, who used their servants to carry messages between them.

I enjoyed the evening because it was informal and expanded my understanding of the theatre’s history and its role in the community.