The show is now over for Friends group

Wellingborough, "The Friends of the Castle" dissolving: l-r Teresa Webb (secretary), Barbara Alibone (vice-chairman), Graham Ridge (chairman), Cyril Hunter, Karen Griggs, and Elizabeth Griggs.'21/11/12

Wellingborough, "The Friends of the Castle" dissolving: l-r Teresa Webb (secretary), Barbara Alibone (vice-chairman), Graham Ridge (chairman), Cyril Hunter, Karen Griggs, and Elizabeth Griggs.'21/11/12

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After almost two decades and more than £218,000 raised, The Friends of The Castle theatre group has disbanded.

The group formed in the early 1990s to lobby Wellingborough Council for a new theatre to be built in the town.

Wellingborough, "The Friends of the Castle" dissolving: '21/11/12

Wellingborough, "The Friends of the Castle" dissolving: '21/11/12

Within a few years of lobbying building work started on the new Castle Way venue, which was officially opened by actor Jeremy Irons on January 26, 1995.

The initial membership of about 12 members grew to 1,400 at its peak and now boasts 1,050 members.

Over the last two decades members have held many fundraising events to raise money for the theatre.

Chairman Graham Ridge said: “We are finishing as an independent organisation and the management of The Castle will in the future administer all aspects of the funds. They have the facilities, the equipment and the staff in order to provide a service which we probably can’t any longer. We will continue as voluntary, informal supporters of The Castle.”

Wellingborough, "The Friends of the Castle" dissolving: '21/11/12

Wellingborough, "The Friends of the Castle" dissolving: '21/11/12

The first show to ever be staged at The Castle was a community production of Annie.

Friends vice-chairman Barbara Allebone said: “It was the most exciting thing to be watching that first performance and thinking, we’ve got a theatre.”

Friends secretary Teresa Webb said: “The membership started to build up.

“I think a lot of people in Wellingborough were so thrilled that we were getting this new building that they were keen to support it.

“Our aim was to buy things that The Castle couldn’t afford to buy.”

Money raised by the group has paid for several items of equipment over the years and refurbishments within the building. It has also paid for a bursary to fund a trainee technician.