Leo is here to show you around the “Back of House” areas, and how much work has been completed in the last few months.
On Easter Saturday (16 April 2022), Crown Wharf Theatre will again take over the Joule’s tap in Stone – and this time the kids are in charge!
Young people from Stone’s Rooftop Theatre and Musical Youth Theatre Stafford will be performing between 2pm and 6pm – upstairs in the pub’s meeting room, and in the theatre bar.
2pm: Rooftop Studios will be dazzling us with song and dance in the upstairs meeting room
3pm: Rooftops will then move down to the theatre bar to continue their showcase with some more sparkling performances
4pm: Musical Youth Theatre Stafford will be giving us a preview of their production ‘Wind in the Willows”, as well as some old favourites from their repertoire
The event is free of charge – although we will be collecting donations for the theatre project. Join us for an hour or for the whole afternoon – we’d love to see you!
The Star of Stone Spitfire Group has increased its support for the Crown Wharf Theatre.
In February, the Spitfire Group became a gold founding partner of the Crown Wharf Theatre, with a seat in the auditorium to be dedicated to the Star of Stone Spitfire. The group also presented a painting of the Spitfire by artist Charles O’Neill to the theatre.
The Spitfire Group has now decided to increase its support for the theatre through an additional gold founding partner sponsorship, this time with the seat to be dedicated to the pilot of the Star of Stone, Flt Lt Karl Jacobsen. The group recently presented a photograph of Flt Lt Jacobsen to the theatre to mark the additional gold sponsorship.
Geoff Berriman, group leader of the Star of Stone Spitfire Group, said: “The Spitfire Group could not have found a better project to support than the Crown Wharf Theatre. We have over 80 members who have made an enormous contribution to our project and we hope to make this enthusiasm and commitment available to Crown Wharf Theatre in whatever way we can. When the theatre opens its doors, it will be an incredible addition to the cultural life of the town. We wanted to ensure that there will be a gold founding partner seat in the auditorium for both the Star of Stone and its pilot.”
Leo Capernaros, Crown Wharf Theatre trustee, added: “We’re so proud to be supported by The Star of Stone Spitfire Group, and I’d like to thank the group for their continuing support. Getting the theatre open is a real community effort, and the support of community groups, individuals and businesses is vital to the success of our project.”
As we press ahead with the project in 2022, we thought it was time to recruit another member to the team to take care of all things volunteers, so we’d like to introduce to you our new Volunteers Coordinator, Dawn Bailey.
Dawn will act as a central point of contact for all volunteer activity. Our volunteers have played a hugely important role in the project so far and will play an even bigger role as we move towards opening the theatre. We’re now looking for more volunteers to support us across our community events and fundraising – as well as in the future across Front of House, Back of House, Box Office, Technical and Cinema.
Over to Dawn…
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in Yarnfield and I’m a retired Vice Principal. I love gardening, keeping fit, cycling, walking; and now I’m retired, holidays and breaks away exploring this beautiful country of ours and, hopefully, wider afield.
Why did you want to become the Crown Wharf Theatre’s Volunteers Coordinator?
Having volunteered over the last couple of years at various events as a Crown Wharfer I really enjoyed the variety of experiences and getting to meet new people. So when the opportunity arose to play a more strategic role to support the development and future running of the Crown Wharf Theatre, I jumped at the chance. Being a Crown Wharfer is a fun and relaxed way to get involved in something so central to the Stone community, so why wouldn’t you!?
What will people gain from volunteering with CWT?
Where do I start, apart from the important role of spreading the word about the progress and aspirations of the new Crown Wharf Theatre, we get to support both The Crown Wharf and Stone Town events. It gives you a purpose to get out of the house and contribute to the Stone community, meeting lovely like-minded people. We are also planning to hold our own Crown Wharfer get-togethers over the year too, no pressure but an opportunity to put some dates onto your social calendar. You can do as much or little as you like but I’m confident whatever and however you get involved it will be fun and different. I look forward to meeting you very soon!
Things are progressing nicely with the Crown Wharf Theatre project as we move ever closer to getting the building ready to open its doors for the community.
At the end of last year, the Crown Wharf Theatre Charity received a £75,000 grant from the Community and Environment Fund. After starting work on the back-of-house areas last year – which is progressing nicely – we’re using the Community and Environment Fund grant to move our efforts into the auditorium, which is incredibly exciting!
The grant will fund the octagonal lighting grid, sprung timber flooring, sound equipment and acoustic treatments. Work is getting under way on this soon and we’ll keep you posted on progress.
If you’d like to volunteer with Crown Wharf Theatre, please complete this short form. We’ll need lots of extra help as we begin work in the auditorium and when the theatre opens its doors!
Crown Wharf Theatre is flying high with the support of The Star of Stone Spitfire Group!
The Spitfire Group has become the latest Gold Founding Partner of the theatre project as we edge ever closer to opening the doors of the theatre.
In 1942, the people of Stone raised £5,000 to fund a Spitfire for the war effort. The plane was named ‘The Star of Stone’ because the fundraising meetings are thought to have been held in The Star Inn pub in the town. The plane was flown from RAF North Weald by the Norwegians of 331 Squadron. Sadly, on 19 June 1942, the Star of Stone pilot, Flt Lt Karl Jacobsen, died after being shot down over the Channel.
Set up in 2018, the Spitfire Group aims to keep the story of the Star of Stone alive – and to celebrate the huge community effort in the town that delivered the plane.
Numerous events and visits have been held over the last few years. And a painting of the Star of Stone Spitfire by Charles O’Neill has been presented to the family of Fl Lt Karl Jacobsen and to the mayor of his home town near Oslo, to the Norwegian Ambassador in the UK, and to many other organisations.
They have now been invited to the Royal Palace in Oslo to present a painting to the King of Norway, whose father and grandfather escaped (along with Karl Jacobsen) on HMS Devonshire in 1940 following the Nazi invasion of their country.
A painting was presented to the Crown Wharf Theatre on 1 February, and the Spitfire Group has become a gold founding partner, as well as sponsoring four seats at the theatre, all dedicated to the Star of Stone.
Geoff Berriman, group leader of the Star of Stone Spitfire Group, said: “We’re delighted to support Crown Wharf Theatre. When it opens its doors, it will be an incredible addition to the cultural life of the town. It’s simply mind-boggling what can be put on there and the impact it can have.
“In 1942, the people of Stone came together to fund The Star of Stone Spitfire. It was a wonderful community effort, and a similar community spirit exists around the Crown Wharf Theatre, as individuals, businesses and organisations all do their bit to make sure the theatre opens and is a huge success.”
Leo Capernaros, Crown Wharf Theatre trustee, said: “We’re so proud to be supported by The Star of Stone Spitfire Project. We’ve been so fortunate, right from the beginning, to have so many people stepping forward and backing the Crown Wharf Theatre. From individuals helping at our fundraising events, to businesses donating their time and expertise, to organisations like The Star of Stone Spitfire Project becoming founding partners, getting the theatre open is a real community effort.”
The shell of Crown Wharf Theatre was built as a gift to the town by Joule’s Brewery – the theatre’s lead sponsor – as part of their Crown Wharf development by the Trent and Mersey Canal. Back in 1942, Joule’s was also the lead sponsor of the Star of Stone Spitfire.
The Crown Wharf Theatre Charity took on the theatre in April last year on a peppercorn rent and, thanks to support from local businesses and a £50,000 grant from the Town Hall Charities, got to work first on the back-of-house areas, which are nearing completion.
A £75,000 grant from the Community and Environment Fund, in place to benefit communities being disrupted by HS2, was awarded to Crown Wharf Theatre at the end of last year, which means work in the auditorium can now get under way. The grant will be used to fund the lighting grid, sprung timber flooring, sound equipment and acoustic treatments.
Leo Capernaros added: “With the help of so many people, we’ve achieved so much and we’re taking exciting steps to getting the theatre open. There’s still a way to go, so we’d love to hear from individuals who want to volunteer their time, or businesses who want to help by donating time or expertise, or anyone who’s interested in sponsoring a seat or becoming a founding partner.”
And so now it’s Christmas… And what have we done?
Another year over…And a new one just begun!
This year has seen the Crown Wharf Theatre project get back up on its feet and back out in the community.
The year started with the live stream of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which as well as raising funds for the project, reminded us all how much we missed live theatre.
This was followed by some sneak peak site tours of The Crown Wharf pub which gave us an opportunity to thank some of our wonderful supporters of the project that have sponsored a seat or offered donations in kind so far.
Then there was of course the grand opening of the pub itself, which we think is even more impressive than anyone ever imagined and gave us the opportunity to host some events right on the Crown Wharf site.
The amazing new pub inspired us to host our first Theatre Takeover event which took place on the August bank holiday, bringing us Ukulele’s, musical theatre, Shakespeare with a twist, live comedy and the first of many pub sing-a-longs. Come on, it’s pub attached to a theatre.
Then there was another first with Wharfstock, our first music festival made possible by the team over at Stone Food & Drink Festival. Vinyl Overdrive, Hairy Eyeball & Lack of Commitments raised the roof, raised funds and rocked the crowds! And despite holding an outdoor event in October, we managed to avoid the rain. If only there was a big enough space able to host indoor events all year round…
Music Theatre International released the rights to a cabaret of songs for a limited time in support of the theatre industry to reduce the cost of performing and maximise the fundraising potential and Theatre 1 took full advantage, entertaining the Sunday night Crown Wharf Theatre Bar community, once again showing their support and raising some valuable cash in the process.
2021 was the year that saw Crown Wharf Theatre taking over the theatre site from Joule’s in April, when we signed our 50 (yes fifty!) year lease.
We immediately got to work, and the first priority was making some essential changes to the ‘back of house’ areas to ensure the facility could cater appropriately for the wide range of community groups that have expressed an interested in the project. We have built a small link extension to ensure under-cover access to the toilets and dressing rooms, and made some big internal layout changes that have afforded us two large chorus dressing rooms, meaning the theatre will be able to host casts of up to 60 performers, great news for local theatre companies, performance academies, schools, scouts, guides etc.
With the major works complete we have gone on to commission an electrical specialist to bring mains power into the auditorium and carry out the first fix electrical installation back of house. With all that completed in the Autumn, we now have a contractors working on site installing all the insulation and plasterboard, the back of house areas are looking more and more habitable by the day.
We have some incredible help over the year, local electrical lighting specialist LAUK have donated our domestic lighting fixtures, Magnet have donated a kitchen and another local company AT Commercial Interiors are helping with our bathrooms.
More exciting still, we have recently learnt that one of our funding bids has been successful. The Community and Environment Fund, in place to benefit communities being disrupted by the construction of HS2, has awarded CWT with £75k. This means we are now ready to start work in the auditorium, and from January we will be focussing on the complex electrical installation, hanging the lighting grid and laying down a substantial sprung timber floor.
On behalf of all the team at CWT, we’d just like to say a huge thank you for the tremendous support you’ve given us this year. Whether you’ve joined us for an event, shared your amazing talents free of charge, represented CWT volunteering at this year’s Ironman event, helped unload building materials on site, driven all the way to hull to pick up a donated kitchen, bought a pint of Much A-Brew About Nothing or simply popped £1 in a bucket it all gets us one step closer.
So, there’s only one thing left to do and that is to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
The Crown Wharf Theatre charity has revealed its first founding partner as it continues to make big steps towards opening a brand new theatre in Stone.
LAUK Lighting, based on Stone Business Park in the town, has played a huge role in the project so far and has become a Gold Founding Partner.
Work started on the backstage area earlier this year and Oliver Freer from LAUK has not only donated his time and expertise, but the company is also providing all the required domestic lighting fittings for the project. Oliver has also helped the charity access vital electrical infrastructure equipment, which has been kindly donated by Schneider Electric.
The hardware alone would have cost the charity thousands of pounds, but in addition Oliver has given his time and professional expertise free of charge to produce vital domestic lighting designs for the project, as well as an online 3D model of the auditorium which gives an interactive, panoramic view of what the theatre will look like when it opens to the public.
Local businesses can become founding partners through making a monetary donation or, like LAUK, donating time, expertise and materials to the project. As a gold founding partner, LAUK will be featured on a Founders Board at the theatre and will get a Gold Founder plaque on one of the theatre seats. Plus they’ll get a plaque and certificate for their business premises.
Oliver said: “I had a tour of the theatre site in 2019 when it was nothing more than steels coming out of the ground. But I was so impressed by the project and its potential, so I wanted to get involved right then to help make this a reality. The theatre will be an amazing community space for everyone in the town. It’s been amazing to see the project progressing, and to be playing a part in making it happen is incredibly satisfying.”
Crown Wharf Theatre trustee Leo Capernaros added: “Right from the beginning, we’ve looked to build strong relationships with businesses in the area who share our vision for the town’s future and can see the potential of this fantastic facility in the heart of the community. Oliver’s help has been invaluable. We’ve been so fortunate to have so many people stepping forward and backing the Crown Wharf Theatre project. We couldn’t do it without them.”
The charity has been staging a variety of fundraising events this year, including an August Bank Holiday Theatre Takeover of the Joule’s Crown Wharf pub, and the charity’s first Wharfstock live music festival at Westbridge Park at the end of September. And there are lots more coming up, including a musical theatre cabaret, as well as Christmas concerts and carolling with the Cantiamo Chamber Choir, Revellation Choir and Florence Brass Band at the Joule’s Crown Wharf pub. Full details of all upcoming events are available on our Events Page.
A number of funding bids have also been submitted for the auditorium stage of the project. The charity should find out before the end of the year if they’ve been successful.
There is more information about becoming a Crown Wharf Theatre founding partner, and lots of other ways that businesses and residents can support the project on this website.
A big night of outdoor live music is being held in Stone at the end of this month to raise money for a brand new theatre and events space in the town.
‘Wharfstock’ is being staged by the Crown Wharf Theatre charity and takes place on Thursday 30 September at Westbridge Park. The event is being held on the Stone Food and Drink Festival site at the park, which gets under way the following day.
The Joule’s Brewery bar will be open for Wharfstock, some delicious food will be available from Griffin & Grey and Nui’s Kitchen, and three brilliant bands will be taking to the big stage.
Electro-acoustic band Vinyl Overdrive will open the show with some modern pop, rock and everything in between. Hairy Eyeball will pay tribute to the era when the Titans of Glam Rock stalked the charts. And The Lack of Commitments – the hard-working saviours of soul – will blast out some sweet soul and Motown classics.
***Event has taken place and ticket links are now unavailable***
All proceeds from the event will help the Crown Wharf Theatre charity move one step closer to opening the doors to Stone’s very own theatre and events space.
Harri Capernaros, Crown Wharf Theatre charity trustee, said: “Thank you to Stone Food and Drink Festival for letting us kick-start the big festival weekend at Westbridge Park. We’re looking forward to an amazing party and to raise funds as we work towards delivering a brand new theatre for Stone. There are only 400 Wharfstock tickets available, so grab yours soon if you want to enjoy some open-air live music with family and friends.
“And a big thank you to all the bands who’re playing free of charge for us so we can raise as much money as possible for the theatre.”
The Crown Wharf Theatre is a charitable project set up by local people to bring a new theatre and events space to the town. Located by the canal at Crown Wharf, the outer shell has been built as a donation to the community from Joule’s Brewery, Crown Wharf Theatre’s main sponsor.
The charity is now raising funds to transform the building. Work started recently on the back-of-house areas thanks to a grant from the Town Hall Charities, and several large funding bids have been submitted to other organisations to help fund the auditorium work.
As well as funding bids, the Crown Wharf Theatre project relies on the support of local people and businesses. There’s been backing so far through donations, offers in kind, corporate sponsorship, founding partners, volunteering, sponsoring a seat and more. You can find out more about the project and how you can get involved on this website.
When completed, the octagonal 200-capacity venue will accommodate a wide range of events: from theatre, comedy, live music and dance to meetings, conferences, cinema and more.