PHASE FOUR – AUDITORIUM REMODELLING
Towards the end of the West end run of 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, one former member of the society who is now a professional dancer and part of the 42nd Street cast let us know of the closure of the Theatre Royal and that the seats where to be made available to worthy regional venues
Needless to say that the theatre put a bid together to secure enough seats to re-seat our auditorium replacing the seats that where approx 85 years old, which were originally secured from the ABC Cinema Eastbourn before its closure in 1976.
In January we where delights to receive the new that we have been awarded all the seats that we required, that challenge was then on to re-seat the auditorium.
Following a decision by the board the scheme presented by Chairman Paul Holt was rubber stamped and a suitable timeslot was cleared just after the panto
In the ensuing 10 weeks almost 2000 Voluenteer hours enlisted into the task which included removing all the old seats, stripping the original wall paper and decor, Removal of the ageing heating system and cleaning of the original 1922 Tin Roof
The scheme as you see today was the vision of a core group of members included Sandra Bullen, (a retired interior designer for a major hotel chain). Working in a scheme that was symphetic to the original Clare Feraby Design as well as coordinating with the the original features of the Albert Wybstannley. .Auditorium
(Incedentially, The Art Theatre is one one of two remaining auditoriums by this architect that is still in use as a working theatre today).
It was also decided to carpet the auditorum adding additional isle space to allow for a better audience experience
Following the completion of the works which was carried out in a 10 week time slot, the new auditorium space was opening by the 2018 BGT talent winner – Lost Voice Guy
As visitors to the theatre will see today the auditorium offers a warm and welcoming enviroment for the audience and performers alike
Update March 2017
PHASE THREE – FOYER REFURBISHMENT
it had long been an issue that the toilet provision in the theatre was an issue especially for busy events like the annual pantomime, this had been quite a hot topic for many years. The decision was made that we needed to do some thing about them so we started to look at ways of improvment in this area. One of the directors came up with a range of options for remodelling that increased capacity and also provided disabled access along with more circulation space.
May 2017 say the start of the works, the demolotion of the existing area, removal of the box office and rear sweet counter storage along with what was reffered to as the glory hole all of which was carried out by voulenteers,
Update March 2016
PHASE TWO – ROOF WORKS AND REPOINTING
Slides showing existing building structure 28th Feb 2016
Work commenced on Monday 14th March with the erection of the scaffolding around the theatre to allow the roofing works to start. The scaffolding will be erected around the perimeter of the theatre to allow the roofing works to be started on one side, whilst the repointing of the wall is carried out on the other side.
It is expected that the works will take around 8 weeks to complete and we are hoping that it will be ready for the Showaddywaddy gig on 10th June. Access doors to the theatre will all be available during the building works and the supporting uprights will be protected to avoid any accidents from people walking into them. If you are visiting our theatre during the works please take care around the scaffolding.
The total cost of the works is expected to exceed £70,000 and whilst we currently have not received any grants from funding bodies, we are confident that when people see activity of this type this will hopefully encourage people to donate to our fund to preserve the heritage of the theatre for future generations
We will be reporting on progress on our face book page so please take a look
Slides showing start of scaffolding erection 14th March 2016
Our company secretary ( Darren Cooper) is very busy at present training for the London Marathon and has currently raised the fantastic sum of £4,000, he is aiming higher for £5,000 so please support him if you can. If he manages to raise enough we may also be able to replace the roof on the dressing rooms at the same time. Please see our support us page for a link to his sponsorship site
Removal of slates starts 21st March
The work commenced to remove the slates from the Albion Road side of the theatre and there where some unexpected findings:-
The slates are a non standard size, the main roof being 18″x9″ and the front roof 18″x 11″ they would normally be 10″ and 12″ wide
The entire roof is under boarded with 1″ tongue and groove boards, which are found to be in execellant condition, given that they are well over 100 years old
There is a blanket covering of insulation a knitted fibre material quilt on top of the board under the slates. We don’t know why and cannot see that there was any benefit to this external insulation as it would have little effect ontop of the boards. It is however a very dusty operation to remove it as it has badly disintegrated over the years.
photos from the roof 25th March
Update Jan 2016
In June this year New Mills AODS will be celebrating fifty years of continuous ownership an operation of this wonderful theatre, it is unique, there is nothing, size for size, to compare even in many of our towns and cities.
The board of Directors last year appointed David Wilmore of Theatresearch to assist with some areas of the restoration program. The first and possibly the most inportant ascpect was for David to advise on all aspects of the Theatre Artchitectural and cultural Merit as well as produce a conservation statement. We expect to receive this final report very shortly ( End Feb 16)
Re-supporting of the original arch May 15
Having completed the re-supporting of the original proscenium arch last year at a cost of £25,000 in April this year we are embarking on our biggest project so far. The replacement of the roof and repointing of the externals walls at an estimated cost of £70,000, which seems expensive until you consider that a single repair to the roof in late December last year cost in excess of £900.00 due mainly to the hire of special access equipment hire, this was only for a singe days work, so the sooner the works are done the better
Existing roof and external walls Feb. 16
To date we have received no support form external grant giving bodies and the works are being funded from our own funds which have been raised over a number of years. Once this money is spent we will need to raise more funds to carry out other much needed repairs and inprovements some of which are listed below
Disabled access to theatre,s foyer and auditorium
New Stalls toilet facilities
Remodelling of the Foyer to increase toilet facilities
Installation of an Orchestra Pit
Upgrading of the Stage Engineering
If you have not seen the theatre from the inside please pay us a visit to appreciate what a gem the New Mills Community has and must ensure it does not lose.