'Covid changed everything!' Hitchin's Market Theatre thanks supporters with new honours board

Kirk Foster and Jo Croydon Foster at the honours board unveiling at Market Theatre in Hitchin.

Kirk Foster and Jo Croydon Foster at the honours board unveiling at Market Theatre in Hitchin. - Credit: Market Theatre

A theatre in Hitchin has unveiled a new honours board to those who helped support them during the pandemic.

Creatives at Market Theatre are set to launch their first play of the autumn season.

The opening production is the farcical comedy The Date from Thursday, September 8.

The Date starring Harry Harding and Daisy Oliphant can be seen at Market Theatre in Hitchin.

The Date starring Harry Harding and Daisy Oliphant can be seen at Market Theatre in Hitchin. - Credit: Market Theatre

Ahead of this, they recently unveiled a new honours board that gives thanks to several local organisations, including North Herts Council and the Arts Council, who gave money to the venue during the pandemic to help them through the forced closure.

At the unveiling, artistic director Kirk Foster talked to guests about the 26-year history of the Sun Street venue and their many successes.

These include children’s drama classes on Fridays and Saturdays, a large schools tour to primary children in Herts, Beds and Bucks, and their infamous 'Adult Panto' which not only plays at the Hitchin venue but has visited over 50 regional theatres over the last few years, creating a cult following wherever it goes, and helping to put the company and Hitchin on the map across the country.

Kirk Foster and Jo Croydon Foster at the honours board unveiling at Market Theatre in Hitchin.

Kirk Foster and Jo Croydon Foster at the honours board unveiling at Market Theatre in Hitchin. - Credit: Market Theatre

Kirk said: “Covid changed everything, the theatre lights were turned off and we weren’t sure if we would ever turn them on again.

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"Before Covid, we had never sought funding for our company, tours or productions, and made live theatre work without the needs of external grants etc but Covid changed everything.”

He continued: “On top of this, our landlord threatened to evict us and put in a planning application to turn the venue into flats.”

Kirk paid huge thanks to those present and the wider community who gave support financially and also helped appeal the planning decision and get the application withdrawn, so the theatre could continue and sign a new lease.

Looking to the future, Kirk mentioned how the cost-of-living crisis was having and would continue to have an impact on theatre across the country.

He said: “Live theatre is a luxury and always one of the first things people cut back on to save money, but we are still here and determined to fight on, diversify and take on the challenge with new and imaginative projects.

"The unveiling of the plaque is an opportunity to let those attending and the audiences that support us know of the generous contributions made. Your support is greatly appreciated, and it will never be forgotten."

The Market Theatre is a small scale, professional theatre in Sun Street with a programme of new writing, live music and also drama classes and LAMDA exams for children.

It also hosts a number of events and classes including Hitchin Jazz Jam, the Ukulele Club, Lindy Lou’s Glow Babies, and the Hub Church.

To find out more and book for their forthcoming shows, visit www.markettheatre.co.uk.