New Doncaster theatre Cast welcomes 6,000 visitors on first weekend

Cast, the new performing arts venue in Doncaster. Photo by Tim Smith.
Cast, the new performing arts venue in Doncaster. Photo by Tim Smith.

Doncaster’s new £22 million theatre Cast welcomed more than 6,000 people on its opening weekend - double the number expected.

The weekend featured a spectacular outdoor performance, an opening ceremony entitled A Cast of Thousands which featured performances from legendary jazz musician Dennis Rollins, the first live performance of the anthem “It’s Our Time” written especially by critically acclaimed folk duo Rita Payne, huge fire-breathing monsters, musicians on the roof and performances from the Cast of the inaugural production The Glee Club.

Finally, a spectacular fireworks display from the top of the building marked the moments the doors officially opened.

The weekend then continued with the opening of The Glee Club – a play chosen to be the first production as it is set in Doncaster and written by the town’s leading playwright Richard Cameron.

Following the lives of six miners from Edlington in the summer of 1962, the production continues a run until Saturday 21 September.

The weekend also gave the opportunity for people to take a look round the new building.

Across its four performance spaces, public square, meeting spaces and foyer, events and activities gave a flavour of what was to come.

Performances included the launch of Breakin’ Convention 2014 as the festival makes its way to Doncaster direct from Sadlers Wells, free concerts from Doncaster Youth Jazz Association who celebrate their fortieth anniversary in a concert at Cast this year, and from Sheffield-based Music In The Round who will present ensemble and children’s concerts in the venue from 2014.

Kully Thiarai, Director of Cast, said: “We are over the moon with how the opening weekend went.

“From the first event on Friday to the close on Sunday we have welcomed thousands of people through our doors to enjoy a look at the building and some incredible performances.

“The reaction has been overwhelming, seeing double the amount of people we expected. Our hope is that people have been inspired by what we have to offer and return to enjoy a performance here soon.”

Cast is the flagship element of Doncaster’s new £300 million Civic and Cultural Quarter (CCQ). Operated by an independent trust, the building is jointly funded by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Arts Council England.

Cast’s first season includes performances by Gareth Gates, Kate Rusby and Cast’s own pantomime, Cinderella, which will be directed by Kully Thiarai.