Work set to start on Plymouth Theatre Royal facelift plan
WORK is poised to begin on the £7million transformation of the Theatre Royal.
The huge redevelopment work will be carried out by contractor BAM, theatre bosses have revealed.
The city landmark – which remains open for business as usual – will get a revamped box office, restaurant and front-of-house area under the plans.
In order to guarantee the work will be completed in time for the opening night of the first ever tour of the world acclaimed War Horse in September, some earlier work on the redevelopment of the Theatre Royal will now start on site in mid February.
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It will however be business as usual at the theatre with a full programme running on the Theatre Royal and Drum stages until early April when the theatre will then be closed for six months.
In the re-development the building's curtain walling is also set for re-cladding as part of the work.
The multi-million-pound project will also involve work on the backstage and basement areas, as well as new mechanical and electrical plant.
It aims to boost the theatre experience for visitors and reduce the carbon footprint of the building.
Theatre manger Jack Mellor said: "We are pleased to be working with BAM, who impressed us with their approach and their confidence that the very challenging programme of works could be completed on time."
The Herald revealed the plans last year as the theatre launched a major fundraising campaign.
State-of-the-art catering facilities are now set to be introduced, and the capacity of the restaurant increased.
A creative learning space will also be created in the basement for use in community outreach programmes.
BAM said it would provide apprenticeships and work experience placements during the project.
The company's construction manager Graham Kingdon said: "BAM is delighted to be working on another major landmark project in Plymouth.
"We look forward to using our breadth of skills to improve the building for the local community, economy and environment. This is an iconic theatre that we use ourselves as theatregoers – indeed the BAM social club went to the Theatre Royal to see Dick Whittington before Christmas."
Some early work will start on site next month, but the main project works will take place from mid-April to September, when the theatre will be closed. It will reopen in September with the launch the national tour of War Horse.
All facilities, including the coffee and stalls bar, restaurant and box office will be fully operational during this time.
Theatre bookers for all shows up to the closure of the theatre in April, are being notified of the work taking place.
The project has received the backing of Arts Council England which has committed £5million. The theatre is now just £800,000 short of the £2million it needed to raise from the public.