Curtain up on theatre improvement work

Work to transform the Victoria Theatre in Halifax is soon due to start.

The project is funded by the UK Government’s Future High Streets Fund. Calderdale Council has appointed construction company Morris and Spottiswood to carry out the improvements.

Plans include a new box office on Commercial Street with an amended layout to reflect current booking patterns.

The current box office, along with part of the foyer area will become a new café/bar which will provide new food and drink opportunities and could hold small performances, events and meetings.

Access improvements are also included, with a new lift taking visitors to the theatre’s bars on the circle level for the first time in the venue’s history, a platform lift for access from the theatre foyer to the auditorium, and two new accessible toilets being installed.

These changes will improve the visitor experience for those with access requirements.

Initial works will be focused around the new box office, which will be in the former Ivor Burns shoe shop on Commercial Street and the former newsagents next to the theatre entrance, which will become part of the new café/bar.

Throughout the works, the theatre will be open as normal, with performances unaffected.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for towns, tourism and voluntary sector, Councillor Sarah Courtney, said: “The Grade II listed Victoria Theatre is a landmark in Halifax and a key part of our visitor economy.

“We’re passionate about the future of the venue and we’re excited for improvement works to begin.

“This is part of an £11.7m package of Future High Streets funding being used to deliver ambitious regeneration work in Halifax town centre.

“Supporting thriving towns and places is a priority for the council, and this work will boost economic growth whilst also protecting our distinctive heritage.”

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for public services and communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, added: “As we head towards the Calderdale Year of Culture in 2024, it’s wonderful news that one of the region’s top cultural venues is being revitalised with new and upgraded facilities to support an improved visitor experience.

“The work will transform the box office and foyer area, increase the food and drink options and improve accessibility of the venue.

“This will encourage greater daytime use, opening the theatre to different customers who may not have visited before.”

Matthew Wall, public sector director at Morris & Spottiswood, said: “We are happy to be part of this project, which will not only breathe new life into Commercial Street but also provide the Victoria Theatre, Halifax with some fantastic new spaces and improve accessibility.

“We are looking forward to working in collaboration with the council to ensure this important cultural facility can continue to be enjoyed by local people and visitors for years to come.”

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