The stage is set at Knottingley

Local community groups working to reopen Knottingley Amphitheatre.'Mark Brown
Local community groups working to reopen Knottingley Amphitheatre.'Mark Brown

SHAKESPEARE wrote that “all the world’s a stage” and now that includes Knottingley after the community banded together to revamp the town’s derelict amphitheatre.

The site, near Gaggs Bridge, has been worked on for two months by Warwick Women’s Community Group, Knottingley Circle of Friends and residents to restore the amphitheatre, built in 1998, back to its former glory.

Charlie Watson, community development and health practitioner at the Primary Care Trust, led the project after he was approached by Knottingley residents last June.

After years of neglect and vandalism, the site had been abandoned and was covered with broken glass and graffiti.

Mr Watson said: “It was built by a partnership between British Waterways and Knottingley High School. “They had a few events there but the events became few and far between.

“Police were called on regular basis due to complaints of drinking in the area.

“But the Knottingley people came to me and wanted to do something about it so we planned the work together.”

The amphitheatre’s official reopening will take place on Saturday August 20 and there will be music performances and a community picnic.

Knottingley Coun Graham Stokes said: “It is a fantastic service for Knottingley, something the whole community has worked towards building. It has been a multi-agency effort. Now we have this resource we need to keep it and work together to make sure it is well used.

“We need to involve a lot of young people as well to make sure it is looked after.”

Work started on the amphitheatre in June, after the Express published an article earlier this year about Marc Brown using the site’s for his university photography project.

Mr Brown, 21, Cardwell Terrace, Knottingley, said: “When I started my project I chose the amphitheatre because I knew how good it had been when I was at school, compared to how it was this year.

“If it looks rubbish then people are going to treat it like that. Originally I just wanted to photograph the difference one man could make, but after seeing the work that everyone in the community has put in together, it is incredible.

“It has been like this for ten years, but if we change it then hopefully people will have the common decency to treat it better.”