Clockwise from top left: Julia Howell, Alderman Mrs Joan Case (© WEA Archive), Daniel Hoffman-Gill, Tony Pinchbeck, Robert Love, Sue Walker.

Take Your Seat at Nottingham Playhouse

There are many wonderful reasons to dedicate a seat in our historic auditorium – a unique surprise gift, in memory of a loved one, to commemorate a special occasion or simply to show your support for and love of Nottingham Playhouse.

Here, in articles previously printed in Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company production programmes, some of our seat sponsors explain why they chose to name a seat.

Julia Howell is a member of the Playhouse Ensemble:

“Dedicating a seat to my late husband Francis Batten seemed like an obvious thing to do after a culmination of significant events connected with Nottingham Playhouse. Last September I joined the Nottingham Playhouse Ensemble & was pleasantly surprised when we used some theatre warm-up techniques that Francis & I had used in our previous work together. I was 60 in January & felt in harmony with the Playhouse’s 50 year celebrations with fond associations from my childhood.

“The opportunity for the Ensemble to be part of The Kite Runner was fantastic, especially as it became the all-time box office hit production! I dedicated the seat on the last day of The Kite Runner and was able to get F12, my husband’s initial and birthday. It seemed to be a very fitting way to acknowledge my enjoyment and support of the theatre, while also involving my late husband whose background was in theatre.”

Robert Love worked in Stage Management and Press & Publicity when our building first opened, 50 years ago. Having visited Nottingham Playhouse earlier this year to celebrate the renaming of the Neville Studio, Robert chose to show his on-going support for the theatre by dedicating a seat:

“I came to the new Playhouse with John Neville’s first company as Senior Stage Manager. There was a fantastic buzz about the place. I switched to Press & PR in the second season, and also got to direct a couple of Sunday Specials including a sell-out Burns Night! I loved Nottingham for its ‘get up and go’. The Playhouse was a formative experience for us all. I ended up as Head of Drama at Scottish TV where I produced ‘Taggart’, among other programmes.”

Pam Wortley and her brother Jeff dedicated two seats in memory of their late parents, who were regular theatregoers. Mrs Wortley explained:

“My brother and I have dedicated seats at Nottingham Playhouse in memory of our parents Fred and Joan Case.

“Joan Case (1918 – 2008) was the first lady Lord Mayor of Nottingham in 1968, and the first Lady Chair of Nottinghamshire County Council in 1981.

“She and our father, Fred (1911 – 1999), were committed to public service and to peace. They were also supporters of the arts and loved Nottingham Playhouse.”

Actor, writer, director, teacher and recent panto giant, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill dedicated a seat to commemorate his performance in the Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company production, The Ashes:

“Being a Nottingham lad, Nottingham Playhouse is my theatre, a place I’ve spent many happy hours being transported to fantastic places.”

“So, when I got a chance to perform on that stage in The Ashes during 2011, a dedicated seat seemed the perfect way to mark and remember that dream coming true.”

Tony Walker, a Backstage Pass member and longstanding friend and supporter of Nottingham Playhouse, dedicated two seats in memory of his wife, Sue, who very sadly passed away in 2010.

“I dedicated two seats when my wife Sue died. The first one “Sue Home from Home” was in memory of all the good times we had at the theatre. We first went to the Playhouse on dates in the 75/76 seasons, but during the four years of Sue’s illness it came to play an increasingly important part in our lives. Sue could get away from her problems, whether at the shows, events or just sat in CAST relaxing, talking to staff or actors. Sue always saw the Playhouse as her home from home. The nice thing was that after her service, the Playhouse arranged for us to use the Ustinov Room to hold a celebration of her life – a very fitting tribute that I will always be grateful for.

“The second seat plaque, “No swearing, Mr Croft!” was related to the opening night of “Rat Pack Confidential”. Giles Croft was sat behind us when the actor playing Joey Bishop developed stage fright and the show had to be cancelled. Understandably Giles’ language was somewhat colourful and definitely wouldn’t be found in the Oxford English dictionary! It became a standing joke with him that at opening nights Sue would turn round and tell him to mind his language. Fortunately we never heard him swear again…well at least not in public.”

Award-winning Nottingham-based playwright and theatre-maker Michael Pinchbeck (writer of our production of The Ashes) dedicated a seat in celebration of his father’s 70th birthday:

“I dedicated a seat to my Dad for his 70th birthday because he loves theatre. He met my Mum in an amateur dramatics production of The Sound of Music in 1970 and they are regular theatre-goers.

“The dedication reads: To Tony Pinchbeck, celebrating 70 years on the stage of life. My Dad and I worked together on a new show called The Middle which is now touring as part of The Trilogy.”

You too can easily take a place in Nottingham Playhouse history by dedicating a seat – it costs £200 (or £160 for Backstage Pass members).

Just call Sanpreet Janjua on 0115 873 6235 or by email to find out how.