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Accessing the arts: Theatre Royal Newcastle

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Theatre Royal Newcastle

The £6 million restoration of Theatre Royal Newcastle was completed in September 2011. The project has restored and modernised the Grade I listed theatre whilst at the same time making the building DDA compliant.

Works included the complete internal redecoration of the building and the improvement of disabled access through the Theatre’s main entrance. New toilet facilities were also installed in the building, whilst a new lift was added to the orchestra pit and technical lighting was repositioned onto a high level gantry.

Theatre Royal Newcastle

To complete the internal work, original carpets were rewoven, original wallpapers were reprinted and all existing light fittings were remade. In addition, a seating specialist from Belgium was brought on to the project to design and manufacture new seats for the auditorium. The seats were designed to look as if they were manufactured during the 19th century yet at the same time offer the comfort of 21st century living.

As well as the internal makeover of the building, a small amount of exterior work was completed to repair damaged areas of the stone elevation.

Work began on the restoration project in March 2011, with Newcastle-based company Surgo Construction as the main contractor and Sansome Hall Architects as the architect. F K Howard was the cost consultant.

Theatre Royal Newcastle

Newcastle City Council was the project manager for the restoration work, whilst Cundalls was the structural engineer and Max Fordham LLP was the mechanical and electrical consultant.

Theatre Search Ltd Company Director, Dr. David Wilmore, said:

“Before the restoration work was conducted wheelchair access to the building was to the side of the Theatre, which wasn’t ideal. As a result, we made alterations to allow disabled visitors access through the main entrance just like everybody else.

Theatre Royal Newcastle

“We were initially commissioned to provide a conservation management plan for the building and from there we developed a restoration strategy, put together a team and took the scheme from a proposal through to construction and completion.

“To be nominated for an award at the Constructing Excellence in the North East Awards is fantastic as there’s a lot of fierce competition in the industry so it’s great to know that we’re doing our jobs well.

“Throughout 2011 we had a very busy construction period and we are currently in the running for three more awards, which is just brilliant.”

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