Scarborough Open Air Theatre: 100 shows and counting as Courteneers prepare to put on venue's centenary show

It has been 11 years since Her Majesty the Queen reopened a refurbished Scarborough Open Air Theatre –  and this week marked a significant milestone for the venue.

By Corinne Macdonald
Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 3:46 pm
A sell out crowd at the Open Air Theatre. (Cuffe and Taylor)

This evening Manchester greats Courteeners will perform the 100th headline show since it reopened.

The music continues this week with fellow Mancunian legends James headlining tomorrow before chart-toppers Snow Patrol complete a week to remember on Friday.

Since its reopening, more 450,000 people have attended a show at the venue which has established itself as the UK’s largest purpose-built outdoor concert arena.

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The Queen opening the new venue in 2020. (JPI Media)

Over the years legendary acts have graced the historic stage including worldwide superstars such as Britney Spears, Lionel Richie, Elton John, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, Noel Gallagher, Dionne Warwick, the Beach Boys and Nile Rodgers and CHIC.

Shows at Scarborough Open Air Theatre attract thousands of visitors to the Yorkshire coast each summer and have created an estimated benefit to the borough of more than £25 million since the very first performance – the gala opening on July 23 2010.

The venue has not just been an important development for the town’s culture and economy, it has also been the backdrop to many special nights for residents.

It will always be an important spot for Seamer residents Danielle Johnson and Oliver Rank.

Elton John performing on stage. (JPI Media)

Danielle said: “The Open Air Theatre will always be more than just a venue to us – it is the place we got engaged live on stage at a Bastille concert in 2018 and holds such special memories of a truly unforgettable night.”

This summer Rob and Sarah Hiscoe arrived at Stereophonics’ gig in full wedding attire having tied the knot in Pontefract earlier that day.

The 2021 season – which comes to a close next week with a sell-out show from pop legends Duran Duran – has been a welcome return for a venue cherished by both locals and music fans from across the UK.

Scarborough Borough Council owns the arena and Cllr Jim Grieve, cabinet member for quality of life, said: “Since reopening in 2010, Scarborough Open Air Theatre has established itself as the borough’s premier outdoor live music venue.

Courteeners play the Open Air Theatre this evening. (Cuffe and Taylor)

“Working with our partners we’ve brought some of the biggest names in the music industry to the Yorkshire coast.

“This has boosted the area’s reputation for high-quality events and contributed millions of pounds to the local economy.

“As we reach the milestone of 100 shows at the theatre, we look forward to more years of fantastic events to come.”

Live music is programmed at Scarborough Open Air Theatre by promoters Cuffe and Taylor, who are part of Live Nation and have a 10-year contract to deliver headline shows at the venue, which now boasts a capacity of 8,000.

Venue programmer Peter Taylor said: “What a week we have in store here at Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Courteeners, James and Snow Patrol are three of the biggest names in British indie rock and to bring all three here in the same week is just fantastic.

“Cuffe and Taylor is so proud to have programmed live music at this wonderful venue since 2016, in which time we have brought many world-famous music icons to the Yorkshire coast.

“We absolutely love it and we cannot wait to add to the century of big-name headliners in the years to come. Watch this space.”

Cuffe and Taylor work hand-in-hand with the dedicated council-led team at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

Stuart Clark, Scarborough Open Air Theatre venue manager, has worked on more than 90 of the 100 headline shows since 2010. He said: “It’s a brilliant venue – a real jewel in the Yorkshire coast’s crown. You only have to look at the calibre of artists who come here regularly to realise how well thought of Scarborough Open Air Theatre is.

“It’s such a team effort to put these shows on and I cannot thank the incredible team here at the venue and Cuffe and Taylor enough. Above all, we’d all like to thank the people of the borough and the Yorkshire coast for their support.”

“We look forward to many more years of fantastic events to come.”