From Acorn theatre grew

Worksop’s Acorn Theatre is like a second home to Craig and Hayla Hawes and their two children.

And it became literally that when the snow hit last winter and they were stranded there for the night.

As the snow fell they stayed behind to make sure everyone who had turned up for the pantomime got sent home.

But by the time they had done that they were snowed in.

Hayla said: “We ended up sleeping on the floor under a big pile of costumes.”

“The next morning we went out and there was a tractor coming up Queen Street so we managed to get out then.”

Hayla and Craig, of Edwinstowe, are part of a band of volunteers who keep the Acorn Theatre running, doing everything from manning the box office to designing publicity show posters.

As well as being directors of the theatre, they also run the Youth Theatre Company which involves 200 young people aged from four to 22.

Their own children are following in their theatrical footsteps with Andrew, 17, doing a theatre production course at Clarendon College in Nottingham, and ten-year-old Lizzie singing and dancing.

Craig was a teacher at St John’s Primary School in Worksop before giving up to become a fulltime musician and composer.

The Acorn Theatre, which is tucked away behind The Crossing, was opened five years ago. The building had previously been used as a church hall.

It’s run as a social enterprise company and has charitable status.

Committee chairman is Roger Westwood, of Worksop, a retired chartered surveyor and keen amateur actor.

He said: “The Acorn rose out of the Regal Theatre’s initial demise, when the council withdrew funding. They went more down the road then of a rock venue and recording studios.”

“We thought it was important to have a theatre in Worksop, not just for the audiences but for the performers as well. The Crossing was being built at the time and when we got the chance to use this building we took it.”

“We would welcome some more volunteers to come and help at the theatre.”

New £55,000 retractable tiered seating was being installed this week and a Take Your Seat sponsorship campaign is running to help pay for it.

Craig said: “Although the seating is going in, it still has to be paid for and we’re inviting people to sponsor a seat for three years for £30 and have their name on it.”

“We have bought all our family them for Christmas.”

“People have said to us in the past that if they were sitting at the back the view was spoilt so having tiered seating will provide people with more of a proper theatre experience.”

“Because it’s retractable the hall can still be used by community groups.”

The Acorn is also home to the Dukeries Theatre Group and Attitude School of Dance.

The next production will be the Young Theatre Company’s panto Aladdin from 3rd December.

The Acorn box office is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12-3pm and Saturday 10am-12pm. Call 01909 501817 or go to www.acorntheatre.net.

PIC CAP: Acorn Theatre chairman Roger Westwood (centre) with directors Craig and Hayla Hawes