Two men with extensive experience in business and the arts will be helping a Watford community theatre continue to build and develop in the future after agreeing to become its patrons.

Warner Bros. worldwide studio operations boss Dan Dark and Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce chief executive Chris Luff are the new patrons of the Pump House Theatre and Arts Centre which is 50 this year.

The Local Board Road venue is planning to announce "some exciting events" in April to celebrate its birthday, but theatre chiefs were wanted to bring in people who could help take their vision forward and represent the Pump House as it strives to continue to provide "fantastic art for the next 50 years as well".

Both Dan and Chris have been keen supporters of the Pump House in the past and project director Sharon Gaffney said: "We are beyond excited to have them join the Pump House community."

Watford Observer:

Pump House's Children and Youth theatre interviewing Dan for its Rain Forest Dreams videos

Dan, who is executive vice president worldwide studio operations for Warner Bros., said: “I’m so proud to have been accepted as a patron of the Pump House Theatre, it does a fantastic job of nurturing local talent and is a real champion for arts in the community. It’s especially exciting to be joining at a time when the theatre is celebrating its 50th anniversary.”

Chris said: “It is a huge privilege to be connected with and to serve as a patron to the Pump House theatre. I have fond memories of going to see my Uncle `Snake Hips Johnson` play there on Sunday nights way back nearly 50 years ago, and more recently being involved in the amazing Rainforest Dreams project raising awareness of deforestation in the Amazon.

Watford Observer:

Chris Luff at the Pump House

"The Pump House is a massive community asset connecting people from all walks of life, long may it continue. Here’s to another 50 years."

Dan, who was awarded an OBE for services to the UK film industry, has long-standing ties to Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, which he originally helped build.

In the mid-90s, Eon Productions approached him to develop Leavesden Aerodrome into a studio for the production of Goldeneye. He continued to run the site as a film studio which became home to all eight Harry Potter films.

Dan was appointed manager director after Warner Bros. bought the site in 2011 and he is now based in Los Angeles where he oversees the company's studio operations in both Burbank and Leavesden.

Chris' working life started with his father’s plumbing business, Reliance, but the majority of it has been spent in the communications technology sector after he co-founded a business in Watford named Freedom.

Now as chief executive of the Chamber, Chris has a host of contacts and utilises them to connect many charities with businesses and vice versa.

He received an MBE for his work during Covid, ensuring 50 tonnes of food did not go to waste and went to people could use it, rather then it ending up in landfill.