What’s been happening behind the scenes at Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall Nottingham one year since it closed its doors

Live streamed performances, an innovative new e-ticketing system, and major refurbishment projects have all been undertaken in the 12 months since the iconic Nottingham venue had to close its doors to live audiences in March last year.

On 16 March 2020, theatres and concert halls around the country closed their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Whilst the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham remains closed one year on, there has been plenty happening behind the scenes to keep its loyal audiences entertained and inspired, to complete vital refurbishment work and to install new systems and procedures ready for reopening to the public.

Theatre lovers and concert-goers hankering for the return of live performances have been able to enjoy a diverse programme of livestreamed events, including some filmed on the venue’s own historic stages.  The much-loved Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season went digital in August with a streamed performance of ‘The Black Veil’, a murder mystery thriller filmed within the majestic Victorian splendour of the Theatre Royal, and a number of classical music performances have been broadcast online using the flawless acoustic quality of the Royal Concert Hall stage, as part of the city-wide Nottstopping Festival and Nottingham Chamber Music Festival.

Other innovative events shared by the venue’s digital team throughout the year have included mind-bending virtual magic shows performed via Zoom, streamed content from acclaimed companies such as Rambert and the National Theatre, and many immersive and interactive performances, podcasts and playlists to represent the diversity and creativity on offer across the digital world.

Since the doors closed in March 2020, the venue has spent most of the year shrouded in scaffolding as a number of major refurbishment projects have been undertaken.  This includes the removal and replacement of 2,000 square metres of exterior mosaic tiling and the renovation of exterior poster sites and cladding, to give the venue a bright, new look when it is ready to welcome audiences back later in the year.  Renovation work has also been taking place inside the venue, including the installation of more energy efficient hot water boilers and replacing fire doors.

To reduce queues at the box office, an innovative new e-ticketing system has been installed so returning audiences can have their tickets scanned on arrival, either on their mobile device or printed at home.  Other measures and procedures have been put in place to ensure audiences, staff, visiting artists and companies can return safely once the venue reopens, including one-way systems, temperature checks and enhanced cleaning procedures.  For more details on what a socially distanced visit will look like, please visit trch.co.uk/covid-19-measures

Peter Ireson, Venue Director for the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, said: “Once we knew we would be closed for an extended period, we focussed on what we could still do for our audiences and what we could do to safeguard the venue for the future.  I’ve been so proud of the staff’s skill, resolve and commitment preparing the venue for reopening, and making it better than before. Likewise, the passion and determination our partner artistes, promoters, and producers have shown in creating innovative online performances to keep us all entertained whilst we wait for live events to return to the stage.

“The Theatre Royal and the Royal Concert Hall will look fantastic when we reopen, newly refreshed and sparkling in the summer sunshine, ready and waiting for our audiences to return.  We simply can’t wait to throw open the doors and give everyone the warmest of welcomes.  It’s something we’ve dreamed about for a year now, so hopefully we haven’t got too much longer to wait!”

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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