VIDEO: The Maltings gets the royal seal of approval

Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, has visited The Maltings in Berwick as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations.

His Royal Highness met civic dignitaries, watched a children’s drama workshop and was given a tour of the theatre’s facilities on his one-hour visit.

After happily chatting to invited guests, many from the local arts scene, he also unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.

The Earl of Wessex said: “Thank you for inviting me to experience a little bit of The Maltings.

“Thanks for introducing me to some of the children and some of the youth work done here which is just fantastic and for giving me a flavour of how important this venue is within the community so please keep up the wonderful work you do.”

Maltings chief executive Matthew Rooke, introducing the royal visitor, said: “I am grateful for you coming here to learn something about the life of Berwick. It’s an unusual town and often we feel quite far away so to have you here makes us feel noticed.

‘I am grateful for you coming here to learn something about the life of Berwick’

Matthew Rooke, chief executive, The Maltings

“We’re also deeply grateful because of your experience in the theatre and to have a visitor who knows about our world.

“Thanks to all the people who have supported us, whether it’s the council , our members and supporters. The thing about The Maltings is that it cannot exist without all those people.”

Arriving just a few minutes after the horses and riders taking part in the Riding of the Bounds had departed, Lord Joicey of Ford and Etal Estates introduced the royal guest to High Sheriff Lucy Carroll, Asst Ch Const Jo Farrell of Northumbria Police and Berwick civic party Mayor Isabel Hunter, Consort Forbes Grant, Sheriff Michael Richardson and Sheriff’s Lady Kate Stephenson.

He was then taken to the Henry Travers Studio where pupils from Holy Trinity First School were taking part in a drama workshop under the guidance of Wendy Payn.

In the main theatre, the Earl of Wessex was shown the trailer for the forthcoming Star Wars film and told how new facilities had improved cinema screenings, meaning many people no longer travel to Newcastle or Edinburgh to see new releases.

Moving on to the Stage Door Bar, he was introduced to staff, trustees, funders, local artists and amateur dramatics groups including Brita Granström who presented him with her book ‘The Story of Britain’. He also spoke with Patti Lomax, wife of the late Eric Lomax whose wartime experiences were made into a film, The Railwayman.