Malcolm James and Mark Hawkins in The Woman in Black - Photo: Mark Douet

The memory of the former boss of Norwich’s Theatre Royal has been honoured with the donation of 500 free tickets to one of his most successful productions.

Peter Wilson MBE died in September 2023, having served as chief executive of the theatre from to 1992 to 2016, as well as running his own PW Productions theatre company.

He also held the role of Vice Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk up until his death and was a passionate advocate for engaging young people with theatre.

To mark his contribution to Norfolk’s cultural life Norwich Theatre, PW Productions, and Norfolk Lieutenancy have offered 500 free tickets to schools and community groups for performances of The Woman in Black at Norwich Theatre Royal for it’s January 16 to 20 run.

The play is one of PW Productions most successful shows, and over 33 years has played more than 13,000 performances in the West End and been seen by more than 7 million people in the UK. In June 2019 the production celebrated its 30th Anniversary in London’s West End with a special gala performance. It is now on a UK tour, including Norwich and Ipswich.

Current Norwich Theatre chief executive Stephen Crocker said: “We mark Peter’s commitment to the cultural life of Norfolk and his passion for inspiring and engaging children and young people through this offer. Peter’s legacy, both visible and invisible, is profound and will continue to live on through the work of Norwich Theatre, the many other organisations that benefitted from his support, and all those that he inspired.”

Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk Lady Dannatt MBE said: “Peter was a Deputy Lieutenant for Norfolk for nearly 20 years, and then he became my Vice Lord-Lieutenant in 2020. With his customary charm and enthusiasm, Peter wholeheartedly embraced this role as he relished the opportunities the Lieutenancy afforded him to meet people from all walks of life. When Peter presented Citizenship Certificates, King’s Awards for Voluntary Service or King’s Awards for Enterprise, he always made the recipients feel both special and at ease. We all miss him so much.”

Chief Executive of PW Productions Iain Gillie, said: “It feels very special to be bringing The Woman in Black to Norwich Theatre Royal this January, where Peter served as chief executive for 25 years. The production comes to Norwich having finished its 33-year West End run in March 2023, making it one of London’s longest running plays. In memory of Peter, we are delighted to be able to offer 500 free tickets to local schools across Norfolk.

“The Woman in Black has been many young peoples’ first experience of seeing live theatre and Peter was passionate about extending access to theatre to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to go. We therefore hope to celebrate Peter’s legacy by bringing this legendary production to a new generation of theatregoers at a theatre and city that was so special to him.”