Knaresborough designer helps Harrogate Theatre's fund with model of entrance

A Yorkshire theatre designer has created a charming model of a struggling venue in the region to help it survive through tough times.

Caitlin Mawhinney, 23, of Knaresborough, a freelance theatre designer who has built a model of Harrogate Theatre.

Caitlin Mawhinney's miniature of the entrance to Harrogate Theatre, which has set up an emergency funding appeal to deal with shutting during the pandemic, will be auctioned or raffled.

Made form mountboard, clay, Perspex and acrylic paint, the model has taken the freelance theatre designer, 23, from Knaresborough, since November to complete while doing other projects.

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Miss Mawhinney said: "I think Harrogate Theatre is a massive asset and it's such a loss that it's been closed for such a long time, especially losing its pantomime.

Miss Mawhinney made the model for the HT Together fundraising campaign. Picture: James Hardisty.

"It does a lot of work in the community that's being missed.

"They helped me build my career right from the beginning."

Miss Mawhinney's set designs have appeared at the Harrogate Theatre in Rachael Halliwell's Connection, Thunder Road Theatre Company's The Body Snatcher and Gill Mcvey's A Shadow Of Doubt.

Harrogate Theatres - which also runs venues such as the Royal Hall - set up its HT Together funding campaign last November and proceeds from the model will go towards the scheme.

Miss Mawhinney does not know how much to expect from an auction or raffle but says £500-£600 is typical for such models.

She has also found herself repeatedly out of work during the pandemic.

"I'm currently unemployed," she said.

"I've managed to have a few little projects here and there but they've got to the dress rehearsal stage and they've been postponed or cancelled.

"It's really heartbreaking every time that's happened."

Performances venues of all kinds have had to shut at short notice multiple times since the pandemic began because of lockdowns and restrictions imposed by the various tier systems.

Miss Mawhinney graduated with a First Class Honours in Theatre Design from Nottingham Trent University in 2019.

As well as exhibiting at New Designers in London, she was shortlisted for a Sustainability in Practice Award for her work at the institution/

Before that she completed a Foundation Degree at Leeds College of Art and a LAMDA Diploma in Performance Studies.

Information about the sale of the model, of which there is only one, will be published on Harrogate Theatre and Miss Mawhinney's Twitter pages, which can be found using @HGtheatre or @MawhinneyDesign.

Miss Mawhinney also said she has not made models on a commissioned basis before, but would do if there was a request.