Doncaster Voices: How to improve town's cultural entertainment?

Welcome to your Doncaster Voices forum. If you want to get involved, submit 150 words, name, title & photo to [email protected] and your views may appear next week when the subject is 'Does Doncaster area give women a fair deal?'

Thursday, 1st March 2018, 11:37 am
Updated Thursday, 1st March 2018, 11:40 am
Doncaster's cultural entertainment


Doncaster has been an affluent area for British cultural education but living in an ever-changing 21st century demands an evolution in our familiarity with different cultures and groups. One such way we can do this is through reading books by authors dissimilar to ourselves (be them from different cultures or containing subject matters you would not normally read). We can promote international food events such as markets so people of Doncaster can gather and try unfamiliar foods together. We can promote watching of films of foreign origin to help language education. There can be education toward different cultures existing in Doncaster, informing students on different religions, different from their own. Also other countries and how said countries may be different to the one we live in.


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Right Up Our Street has been working in Doncaster for four years as part of Arts Council for England’s Creative People and Places project to bring more cultural entertainment. During that time we’ve engaged thousands of people from across the borough, brought internationally acclaimed entertainment and worked with our home grown talent to help them to build on their success locally. Working alongside Cast, we’ve been instrumental in bringing outdoor events like Colour of Light and Clash of Drums, both seeing crowds of people take to the streets and getting involved. They had visual impact and were great fun. This year we host two DN Festivals in July and November, which will have a space theme and will be designed to encourage local people to get involved. Together we can make a real difference.


Doncaster Culture. Doncaster Entertainment. “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” so goes the old idiom. “You can’t please (or fool?) all the people all the time” goes another. So what could attract people to travel into Doncaster and more of our residents out from in front of the telly for a shot of that culture stuff? Variety, imagination and a bit of risk perhaps? Doncaster’s Cast Theatre has to be one of the best entertainment spaces in the North though I think a more informed booking policy could bring more live, original music into Doncaster. I love the variety and scope of many of the more traditional stage productions that Cast presents but I find myself contemplating a drive to Leeds, Sheffield or even Scunthorpe for original live music not of the “tribute” or as I’ve heard it termed, “pretend” kind. Maybe the Rod Stewart or Simon & Garfunkle Story with Seven Drunken Nights masquerading as The Dubliners floats the boat of some folks but it neither floats mine or adds anything of much cultural value to the town. Presenting live music that one already knows so well is a sure way of sticking bums on seats, entertaining those that only like what they know and know what they like; but does it put Doncaster on the cultural map? How did Mexborough’s Brian Blessed arrange a National tour and miss out Doncaster, only 35 minutes from his mam’s on the 220? Scunthorpe or Leeds anyone?”


I feel that we are already taking great strides towards this, after seeing the two recent wonderful productions of Annie and Sister Act, also plays produced by JKL at Cast, all the great dancing schools, Doncaster Little Theatre productions, Hatfield Brass Band, all the various Choirs, this all looks very promising. However I feel that to be able to restore and open the Grand for the larger productions would enable the younger people of Doncaster to see these shows in their own town without having the cost to travel to Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford etc., where, incidentally, many groups have a day shopping in these other towns as well as going to a show. We need to encourage them to shop in

our own town. The capacity of the Grand would be 900/1000, having originally 1,600 seats. I have photographs of stage productions and there are 80 people on stage. Also it could be used for showing films, it is not easy for those of us

who do not drive to get to Belle View and back, especially in the evening.


Cultural entertainment? Why don’t we in Doncaster not have a carnival weekend, maybe its because we don’t share the same values or maybe we just don’t want to share. Change is needed in how we see the many cultures that we have. And change won’t happen until we all play apart. The Local Authority can take a lead in this by bringing Community leaders together and creating a weekend of music, dance and food. The Town Fields or racecourse would be an ideal venue coupled with a parade of floats depicting scenes of “home” from all communities and promotional stuff from business and industry. Lethargy seems prevalent within us all, time to wake up and show Doncaster to the world. Look to Leeds for inspiration they started small but its part of the Cultural calendar now. We holiday abroad seeking cultural change and experience so why not share it at home.

*If you want to get involved, submit 150 words, name, title & photo to [email protected] and your views may appear next week when the subject is: “Does Doncaster area give women a fair deal?”


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