Hollywood actor Vincent Regan hoping to launch professional theatre in Beverley
HE'S a Hollywood actor based in Beverley and now he's hoping to attract stars to appear on stage at a new theatre planned in the town.
Vincent Regan, who has starred alongside superstars including Brad Pitt, has the backing of Dame Judi Dench for ambitious plans to launch a professional theatre in Beverley.
Dame Judi has agreed to be patron of East Riding Theatre, a not-for profit company that would be established in a disused chapel owned by East Riding Council.
Mr Regan, 47, says Beverley-born Bafta-winning actress Anna Maxwell Martin is among stars he is hoping to involve in the project, which would be based at the grade two listed Old Chapel in Lord Roberts Road, near County Hall.
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Brad Pitt, who appeared with the town-based actor in the war epic Troy, is unlikely to make a switch from Beverley Hills to Beverley, however.
Mr Regan joked: "I have asked already, he says he can't make it.
"But we have some serious players involved, although we are not announcing names yet because we are still in talks with the council."
Mr Regan has asked the council to consider leasing the Old Chapel to East Riding Theatre for three years, to see if a professional theatre in the town is financially viable.
Under the proposal, the atmospheric building, which is empty following the relocation of council staff, would be transformed into a theatre presenting its own professional productions.
It would also act as a receiving theatre for high-profile touring companies, as well as presenting live music and comedy.
It could also provide a venue to support some of Beverley's festivals. There are also plans for a café bar, which would be used throughout the day, as well as before and after performances.
Mr Regan, whose actress wife Amelia Curtis is part of the steering group behind the project, says: "There will be visiting productions, we will also have our own production company.
"We will also be a hub for festivals here, we want to grow festivals such as the literature festival, folk festival and puppet festival."
Mr Regan says ten-time Bafta-winning actress Dame Judi, who was born in York, was keen to be patron for the project.
He says: "I was filming in South Africa when Tim Piggot-Smith said why don't you ask Dame Judi to be patron.
"He knows her very well. She's a Yorkshire lass and she is very keen to develop theatre in Yorkshire, especially in the east of Yorkshire.
"She was keen to be involved and we are happy to have her on board.
"It will raise national awareness of the project.
"It would be lovely to get her up here to Beverley but she's a very busy woman, of course.
"Just having her support is terrific. We have some great players on board but it's still very early days. There's a lot to do."
Mr Regan is hoping it may be possible to stage a production before the end of the year if all goes to plan.
He says: "I would like to think something could happen this year.
"The venue might not be the finished article but I would like to give people an idea of what it will be like."
Mr Regan is hoping to attract theatre-goers from across the country.
He says: "If we create a world-class theatre and, especially when we transfer shows to London, hopefully we will be getting audiences from all over the country."
The proposals are set to go before the council's cabinet on Tuesday for consideration.