Visitors to the Georgian Theatre Royal will be able to see first-hand work taking place to improve the auditorium when guided tours re-start on August 1.
The Auditorium Development Project is the latest chapter in the history of this, the UK’s oldest working theatre in its original form, and will provide more comfortable seating and improved views of the stage whilst preserving the building’s unique heritage and authenticity.
The ambitious capital works programme was given the green light at the beginning of last month thanks to a £375,000 donation from the Hamish Ogston Foundation, enabling the work to commence during the theatre’s enforced period of closure and the uncertain months for live indoor performances beyond. Shows are expected to resume in March 2021.
“We are all incredibly excited about the project,” said Clare Allen, chief executive of the theatre.
“It is a beacon of hope during these dark times.”
“Whilst other theatre buildings remain closed, it is wonderful for us to be able to reopen our doors to show people around this fascinating venue.
“We can not only tell them about the exciting history of the Georgian but about the thrilling plans for its future,” she added.
The Georgian Theatre Experience includes a full guided tour of the auditorium, dressing rooms and stage, as well as access to the exhibition area, which features the recently restored woodland scene – Britain’s oldest surviving stage scenery painted between 1818 and 1836 – as well as old playbills, scripts and photographs.
New exhibits are some modern pantomime props that many local people will recognise from recent festive productions.
In preparation for re-opening, the theatre has been awarded ‘We’re Good to Go’ accreditation from VisitEngland.
Tours will run on the hour from 10am until 4pm from Monday to Saturday.
Visitors do not need to book for tours but groups of more than four people are asked to call ahead of their visit on 01748 825252 to make sure that numbers for each tour do not exceed the viable limit for effective social distancing.
Entrance costs are only £5 per adult and £2 for children with tickets valid for 12 months to enable repeat visits. The Georgian Theatre Experience can be accessed from the main entrance of the Theatre on Victoria Road.
For further information, please contact 01748 825252 or visit www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk