The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme is working to transform its auditorium, as it embarks on its biggest redevelopment project since the theatre was built 34 years ago.

In these difficult times the theatre is taking a positive step forward to invest for the future. The fundraising target for the project has now been reached, with funds restricted to this important work that will support the future resilience of the organisation.

An artist’s impression of the newly refurbished auditorium has been released today to give an indication to audiences of what the theatre will look like following the work – including brand new deep purple seats, with wooden trim. The refurbishment works will see the theatre replace all of its 597 seats with ergonomically designed seating and a number of two person seats in certain spaces, redesign its balcony area to increase comfort and improve the audience experience, install handholds to the end of aisles and increase the number of spaces available to wheelchair users. The theatre will also install a brand new stage and improve aisle lighting to help audience members access their seats with ease. Works also include upgrading the theatre’s customer toilets.

The redevelopment project sees an investment of over £750,000 into the theatre following major support from Arts Council England. The Stoke-on-Trent based Denise Coates Foundation has also made a significant donation towards the works, having supported previous redevelopment projects at the theatre alongside contributing significant funds to the theatre’s Borderlines community programme over a number of years, to support ongoing work with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.

The New Vic is currently closed in line with government guidelines but once able to reopen the refurbished auditorium will be used to stage New Vic shows as well as playing host to the theatre’s extensive education and community programmes.

Fiona Wallace, New Vic Managing Director, said: “Thirty-four 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.”

Local people can support the New Vic’s work by donating to the theatre, through their website at newvictheatre.org.uk or by calling the Box Office on 01782 717962.

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