With no date on when it can reopen, work is starting to transform the auditorium at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle.
The refurbishment works, the biggest since it was built 34 years ago, will see all 597 seats replaced with ergonomically designed seating and a number of two person seats in certain spaces.
The balcony area is being redesigned, and the number of spaces available to wheelchair users is being increased, toilets are being upgraded, and aisle lighting installed.
The theatre will also install a brand new stage.
The work comes after the fundraising target for the project has been reached.
The redevelopment project sees an investment of over £750,000 into the theatre following major support from Arts Council England, and a donation from the Denise Coates Foundation - having supported previous redevelopment projects at the theatre alongside contributing significant funds to the theatre’s Borderlines community programme to support ongoing work with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.
One of the damaged, worn seats in the New Vic auditorium (Photo: Andrew Billington)
Fiona Wallace, New Vic Managing Director, said: “34 years after the New Vic opened, and after welcoming over three million theatregoers, our unique in-the-round auditorium was in urgent need of major investment.
"This vital work will transform the space, bringing the New Vic up to modern standards, improving the comfort and experience for our audiences and ensuring we continue to be at the heart of our community for generations of theatregoers to come.
"We’re pleased that we’re able to start this project on time, and grateful to our contractors for working with us to ensure we can undertake the work in line with all current safety regulations surrounding Covid-19.
"We look forward to being able to share the finished auditorium with audiences as soon as we’re able to.
"This investment will support the theatre for the future, as we aim to be in the strongest position we can be when we come out of this current crisis.”