A THEATRE in York run by volunteers is holding an open evening to encourage more people to get involved in its backstage, front of house and marketing teams.

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre, in Haxby Road is appealing for more volunteers as it gears up for a busy season.

In late February, the York Stage Musicals production of Phantom Of The Opera will start, and is the first of six big musicals to hit the Joseph Rowntree’s stage over the coming year.

Volunteer Moira Tait, who sits on the theatre board, said: “It’s great to have all these shows by amateur groups around York, but it means we need to find ten front of house volunteers for each performance.”

As well as front-of-house stewards who sell programmes and show people to their seats, the theatre relies on volunteers to run the backstage and technical areas and publicise its events. An open evening on Wednesday, February 12, at 8pm, will give people a chance to look around the theatre and chat to existing volunteers.

Moira said: “Anyone over the age of 16 is welcome, with no experience needed. We will train people up in backstage technical roles like lighting and stage management, and the PR and marketing volunteers can do anything from handing out flyers in town to helping with our website.” Current volunteers include everyone from theatre-lovers who have been involved with the amateur groups that hire the theatre for many years and want to give something back to the venue, and students who throw themselves into the backstage team during their few years in York before pursuing a career in theatre.

Moira, who has been a volunteer for four years, said: “I have always been interested in theatre, and this is an important facility for the city.

“There’s a great sense of satisfaction from seeing the audience come out of show and talk about how much they enjoyed it, and from giving the amateur groups chance to perform on a proper stage.”

For more information email volunteer@jrtheatre.co.uk