Hitchin masquerade ball to raise funds to restore The Dell open-air theatre

PUBLISHED: 10:28 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:28 12 October 2017

The Masquerade Ball at Hitchin Town Hall will raise funds towards turning The Dell back into an open-air theatre. Picture: Hitchin Initiative

The Masquerade Ball at Hitchin Town Hall will raise funds towards turning The Dell back into an open-air theatre. Picture: Hitchin Initiative

Archant

A masquerade ball is to be held in Hitchin to raise funds to help return an open-air theatre to its former glory.

The Hitchin Initiative is putting on the fundraising ball at Hitchin Town Hall in Brand Street on Saturday, October 21 – with proceeds to go to transforming The Dell back into a theatre.

Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins told the Comet: “We’re hoping for a great deal of support for the launch of our Dell appeal, to tidy up this beautiful area and make it available once again for some magical performances.”

The Dell, also known as the Woodside Open Air Theatre, dates from Georgian times – when a huge pit was dug into the side of Windmill Hill to provide sand for building the final wing of Hitchin Priory.

The Dell formally opened as an open-air theatre in July 1950 with the Bancroft Players’ production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and lasted until a 1963 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. There was a brief revival in the 1990s, but since then nothing.

Keith said: “Now, with more activity than ever taking place – not only during Hitchin Festival, but throughout the year – this potential refurbishment would provide a unique venue for our growing cultural activity.”

He hopes that an initial production might be possible next summer.

Tickets to the ball cost £70 each, with tables of 10 also available for booking. Doors open at 7pm, with carriages at 2am. The dress code is black tie and gowns with masques.

There will be live entertainment with a disco from the Winchester Collective DJ trio, and a three-course meal and pre-ordered drinks menu.

To find out more, call Joanne on 07552 898160, call Hitchin Initiative on 01462 453335, or email hitchintownhall@gmail.com.

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