30 Years of Helmsley Arts Centre

30 Years of Helmsley Arts Centre - Arts for Everyone in Ryedale - and beyond!

Become a 30 for 30 hero today! 

You can support us to continue for the next 30 years - and beyond, by sharing, donating and shouting about our'30 for 30" fundraising appeal 

The 2nd of May marks the 30th anniversary of the first performance at Helmsley Arts Centre, then The Old Meeting House, in 1993. 'Once Upon a Time - An International Evening of Story-telling and Verse with Vayu Nadie, Martin Riley, and Peter Morgan' was the first performance with the audience invited to ‘Bring a Cushion for Comfort’ as the seats, still being the original pews, were rather solid! Founder member and current HAC trustee Martin Vander Weyer recalls “For that opening show we had an enthusiastic crowd and a bold programme. Having been shuttered up and unused for several years, the building was cold and uncomfortable, with hard pews, no loos and a borrowed electricity supply. But that was the night we moved off the drawing board and began to realise what the Old Meeting House — now the thriving, greatly loved, multipurpose Helmsley Arts Centre — could become”.

Today Helmsley Arts Centre provides a huge variety of opportunities to be creative and to experience high quality arts and culture with the building a constant hive of activity. Community is the core of HAC with the 1812 Theatre Company and 1812 Youth Theatre; volunteers;Youth Training programmes; HAC Singers; Ryedale Writers; Friday morning Cafe and many more community based groups and activities.

Artistic Director, Natasha Jones, says “It’s an incredible achievement to get to 30 years, and that’s all down to the incredible array of people who have dedicated their time and skills over the years. With the celebrations comes the sadness of losing one of HAC’s founder members, Jean Kershaw MBE, in January this year. Our celebrations will include Jean every step of the way and we’re delighted to be naming our auditorium ‘The Jean Kershaw Auditorium’ in May. More celebratory events include a sculpture commission for HAC’s garden by local artist Sarah Cawthray, a Grand Auction of Art, Wine & Promises in Duncombe park and a “30 for 30” fundraising appeal, which will be launched at the start of May in the hopes of fundraising £30,000 in 3 months. We have no core funding and it’s imperative that we constantly fundraise to make sure we can stay open and provide creative opportunities and experiences for the next 30 years - and beyond!”

We thought it only fit to mark such a wonderful occasion the only way we know how.. By  celebrating what and who make us so great!

Here are some of the events that will be happening at HAC over May. We really hope to see you and to share our gratitude in such a special accomplishment! 

30th Anniversary Quiz 

30th Anniversary - On Stage! 

Alright here for Helmsley - A reflection on a rural branch line 

Ryedale Writers - 30 years sharing 

Jill Thomas School of Ballet Open Day

30th Anniversary HAC Singers & Calder Valley Voices 

The Art of Brass - Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band 

30th Anniversary Friday Morning Cafe

Ben Beattie & his "After Midnight Band"

30th Anniversary Grand Auction at Duncombe Park