Heritage Lottery boost for Newcastle Theatre Royal

PUBLISHED: 11:01 21 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:02 20 February 2013

Newcastle Theatre Royal, one of the finest theatres in Britain

Newcastle Theatre Royal, one of the finest theatres in Britain

The Theatre Royal in Newcastle will fall dark between March and September 2011 for a major restoration. The aim is to recapture the grand style of a century ago, while introducing 21st Century standards of comfort

Newcastles beautiful Theatre Royal has secured a grant of 300,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help with its 2011 restoration project.

The project, costing 4.75 million in total, will include extensive restoration of the auditorium and conservation measures to protect the external fabric of the building, including the famous portico on Grey Street.

The Grade 1 Listed theatre, opened in 1837, is regarded by many as the UKs most beautiful theatre building and was once named by Sir Ian McKellen as his personal favourite.

Extensive work will be carried out in the auditorium, including new seating at all levels, new lighting and ventilation systems, a new Stalls entrance and reinstatement of lost historic features, including light fittings and gold leaf decorative work. The aim is to recapture the grand style of Frank Matchams 1901 design, much of which has been lost over the last century, while at the same time creating 21st Century standards of comfort.

A new heritage exhibition will be developed in partnership with the V&A Theatre Collections Department. Volunteers will help to lead tours of the site and develop and maintain the archives.

In parallel with these developments the Theatre is creating a Heritage Learning Programme and a new History Room, where the heritage of the theatre can be studied by members of the public.

Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the North East, said: The Theatre Royal is an historical gem in the heart of the city. Our investment will contribute to a vital project which will conserve and transform the fabric of this fantastic building.

The Theatre Royal will have no performances from March 14 to September 11 while the restoration is taking place, though the other parts of the theatre will remain open.

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