Sunday, 25 October 2020

New theatre chairman keen to re-open soon

New theatre chairman keen to re-open soon

THE new chairman of the Kenton Theatre in Henley wants it to see it re-open as soon as possible.

Julie Huntington, of Fair Mile, Henley, was chosen by the trustees to replace Christopher Tapp, who stepped down after almost two years in the role.

She said: “We want the Kenton open as soon as the regulations will allow.

“We are all feeling so enthusiastic and we are determined to see things through. The show must go on.”

Mrs Huntington, an insurance consultant, is an actor, singer and an award-winning director. 

She is also vice-chairman of Henley Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society.

She has been joined on the board of trustees by four new people who were elected at the theatre’s annual meeting.

Jeni Wood, a former Henley mayor, who lives in Peppard, said: “It feels wonderful to have been elected.

“We have very good people on the committee and we all have one thing in common and that’s to do the best thing for the theatre. A very committed committee, if you will.

“I love the Kenton and we’ve usually got lots of things going on as we are a community theatre. The shows are tremendous. A lot of visitors come out of the shows and say, ‘That should be in the West End’.”

Sarah Bell, a trustee of the Acorn Music Theatre Company, said: “I was quite stunned to be appointed. It’s really lovely.

“I am looking forward to our first team meeting and it’s great to be on board with the theatre, especially during this time when it’s such an upheaval for everyone involved in the theatre and the arts.

“I’ve very positive about it all really, we just need to keep going forwards. We all want the same thing and that’s the best for the theatre.”

Mrs Bell lives in Henley with husband Graham, co-presenter of Ski Sunday, and runs a ski fitness sales company.

Alexis Lane, a partner at Henley law firm The Head Partnership in Henley, said she felt overwhelmed to be elected. She said: “I’m a very keen theatre-goer and I just think that as a town we are so extraordinarily lucky to have a theatre. The thought of being able to support it is a lovely thing.

“Lots of people in the town love the theatre so I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”

Mrs Lane, 44, who lives in Hurst, said everyone at the Kenton was “committed and energised”.

“Everyone has a range of skills and experience so it’ll be great when working together,” she added.

Piers Burnell, a theatre producer and radio presenter, said he was honoured and proud to become a trustee.

“I am very nervous as well as there is a lot of responsibility with it and a lot to learn,” he said.

“Luckily we’ve got a good bunch of people with a range of skill sets, so if I get stuck I can ask one of them.”

Mr Burnell, who lives in Henley, is a Kenton friend, member and “keeper” and has a background in theatre, producing and directing fringe productions in London and in Henley.

He also presents a show on Marlow FM and teaches drama part-time at Stageworks.

Mr Burnell said: “I come from a theatrical background and I thought I could help with ideas on shows and how we can use the theatre for other events that aren’t theatrical or drama-based and ways to keep the building alive, active and interesting.

“I want to encourage the people who haven’t been to the theatre and people who live outside Henley to come and visit. If they come three times a year, we need to find something that will make them come a fourth time.”

At the annual meeting Claire Hewitt was re-elected for another three years while fellow trustees Mrs Huntington and Judith Terry’s term of office did not expire this year.

Cliff Colborne and David Parsonson faioed to be
re-elected.

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