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Happy 23rd Birthday Next Stage! Civic Reception for Company on eve of 23rd Birthday

Posted: Thursday 18 May, 2017



On Wednesday 17th May the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Bath, Councillor Paul Crossley honoured Next Stage Theatre Company with a Civic Reception in the Mayor’s Parlour.

The Reception occurred on the eve of Next Stage’s 23rd Birthday and was in recognition of the company’s contribution to the cultural life of the city.

The Mayor and the Mayoress greeted nearly 40 Next Stage actors, friends and patrons of the company, all of whom had gathered to celebrate this a public recognition of the dramatic excellence that Next Stage has brought to the city of Bath.

Guests included ex-Mayor Marian McNeir - friend of Next Stage - Andrew Fletcher OBE - long-standing patron - and ex-councillor Colin Darracott - one of the main protagonists in Next Stage’s acquisition of the People’s Mission in Corn Street in 2004.

Following the Mayor’s toast to the company, Artistic Director Ann Ellison BEM replied thanking the Mayor for all his support in the last year, recognising the wealth of talent and long-standing friendship represented by the actors and supporters present in the Mayor’s Parlour, and reminiscing on the opening night of Next Stage’s inaugural production of Willy Russel’s Educating Rita, in 1994.

Ann Ellison remarked that many people 23 years ago had thought Next Stage would be a five-day wonder, but the company that started with eight members, has, over the years, grown to encompass over 100 adult and youth members; attracted prestigious patrons: Sir Alan Ayckbourn, Sir David Hare and Dame Harriet Walter; acquired and set up its own independent theatre in the centre of Bath - The Mission Theatre; has flown the flag of dramatic excellence when touring performances to Bristol, Scarborough, Cornwall, New York and London; has raised money for, and supported, many local and national charities; set up a bursary fund to help young actors; and produced over 175 plays including a number of Bath premieres, achieving with them national recognition and high artistic acclaim.

Next Stage Theatre Company’s next production will be the adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ novel Birdsong which the company are staging at The Mission Theatre, Bath June 27th - July 1st, and then taking on tour to the Minack Theatre, Cornwall July 17th - 21st.


Patrons Ian Simpson and Andrew Fletcher OBE

Members of Next Stage (left to right) Claire Rumball, Dave Dunn, Barbara Ingledew, Andrew Ellison, Ren Leming, Izzy Ingledew, Mayoress Margaret Crossley and Suzanne O'Callaghan.

Company members George Gent, Lydia Cook, Liz Wilson and Kay Francksen with the Mayoress (centre)

Long-standing members Brian Howe and Dave Dunn have both been with Next Stage since the beginning

Company members Ollie Scott, Brian Hudd and Richard Matthews

Company members Caroline and Graham Groom, chatting to Alison Paine

Some members of the company perusing the 1994 scrapbook of Next Stage's first year

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