THE impact of early twentieth-century theatre on the business enterprises of pioneering York industrialists is to be considered in a free talk this month.

‘Drama at the Cocoa Works’ has been organised by York-based educational charity The Rowntree Society and the talk takes place at New Earswick Folk Hall in Hawthorn Terrace from 2pm to 3.30pm on Saturday, April 13.

The talk will share research into the role of theatre in the Rowntree’s factory in Haxby Road and in New Earswick – the model village built for workers and managers - in the early part of the last century.

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The organisers said the Rowntrees’ leadership of York’s cocoa works combined business management with practical action intended to improve society, culture and health for their workers.

In addition to improved working conditions and shorter hours at the factory, education schemes mixed with recreational schemes to develop the employees physical, spiritual and cultural provision.

Just a short distance down the Haxby Road, at New Earswick village, organisers said a growing provision for theatre can also be traced.

Speaker Catherine Hindson is Professor of Theatre History at the University of Bristol and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

She is the author of Theatre in the Chocolate Factory: Performance at Cadbury's Bournville, 1900-1935 (2023)

Tickets are free but must be booked via