Theatre anniversary commemorated in well dressing

Photo courtesy of Derbyshire Times

The 70th anniversary of the country’s oldest civic theatre forms the focus of a Derbyshire well dressing.

The Pomegranate Theatre, owned and operated by Chesterfield Borough Council, has been immortalised by volunteers who have created the Holymoorside well dressing in North East Derbyshire.

The well dressing is on display at the restored well on Loads Road, near the foot of Cotton Mill Hill in Holymoorside until Sunday 8 September.

The well dressing shows the stage set for a pantomime rehearsal and also includes black-and-white buildings and the Crooked Spire to remind visitors of the link to Chesterfield. The frame includes pomegranates and the theatrical masks of tragedy and comedy.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “We are extremely proud of our theatres and that Derbyshire audiences have been able to see world-class theatre in Chesterfield for 70 years so it is good that our neighbours in Holymoorside have celebrated this in their well dressing.

“I’d encourage anyone who has been involved in the Pomegranate Theatre or seen some of our shows to go and take a look.”

The Pomegranate Theatre, then known as Chesterfield Civic Theatre, was opened by well-known film and stage actress Kathleen Harrison on 19 February 1949.

It was the first civic theatre in the country following legislation brought in by Atlee’s post-war Government and was originally a repertory theatre offering a new show each week.

Among the original company of actors was Peter Sallis, best known for playing Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine and for voicing Wallace and Gromit. Other actors to tread the boards in the early years include Dame Penelope Keith, best known for The Good Life and To the Manor Born and John Challis, known as Boycie in Only Fools and Horses.

Chesterfield Borough Council continues to own and maintain the venue, which was extensively refurbished in 2014 with funding from the council and Arts Council England.

The theatre is currently hosting a Summer Play season presented by Paul Taylor-Mills, Olivier Award-Winning producer and advisory producer to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and his repertory company

The Comedy Wife Begins at Forty runs until Saturday 31 August, with performances at evenings 7.30pm, and a Saturday matinee at 3pm

The J B Priestley play Dangerous Corner runs from Tuesday 3 September to Saturday 7 September, evenings 7.30pm, Wednesday matinee at 2pm, Saturday matinee at 3pm.

To book tickets visit or call the box office on (01246) 345222.

First published on 30 August 2019 Last updated on 23 September 2019