£16million, more than 1,000 construction workers and 483 days later– and soon the city will see how Hull City Council’s multi-million pound investment has re-shaped Hull New Theatre.
The newly extended and transformed theatre has received a total revamp from new state-of-the-art technical and backstage infrastructure, including a significantly larger 27m fly tower and front-of-house enhancements, to a new, easily accessible entrance and foyer, lift access to all floors and bigger, more comfortable seats with increased leg room, new-look restaurant and bars and additional, flexible spaces for businesses, community and social use.
Almost two years on from its closure in January 2016, Hull’s largest and most historic theatre is almost ready to welcome world-class performances and shows , including a grand official reopening on Saturday 16 September featuring The Royal Ballet in ‘Opening The New’, an exhilarating evening of classical and contemporary dance, specially curated Hull-born director Kevin O’Hare.
The refurbishment of the theatre is part of Hull City Council’s £100m capital investment programme designed to regenerate the city’s economy, securing lasting benefits for the people of Hull and the region.
Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council said:
“The city is already reaping the rewards of our investment in our cultural venues and infrastructure, with record visitors to the newly refurbished Ferens Art Gallery and thousands enjoying the new city centre public realm. We hope to see this continue in the years ahead with the Hull Venue opening next year and, in the longer term, our Yorkshire cruise terminal in the city centre.
“I would like to thank Esteem and Sewell Construction, and the many Hull City Council staff involved for their fantastic work and commitment, not only to the theatre, but to the UTC and to the surrounding area. Their professionalism and competency has meant that the project has come in on schedule and is already making a hugely positive difference to this area of the city centre.
“This investment will be a catalyst to ensuring the theatre is in the best possible position to cement its reputation as one of the best receiving theatres in the UK , ensuring we secure a lasting legacy from our year as UK City of Culture.”
The project has employed the skills of 37 further local companies and 134 apprentices and trainees throughout their 69 weeks on site. At the height of work, more than 250 operatives were on site each day ensuring deadlines were kept to.
Richard King, Chair of Esteem, said:
“Hull New Theatre is one of the most distinctive and beautiful buildings in the city and it’s an honour to be entrusted by the council to carry out the transformation of this prestigious venue which means so much to the community.
“It’s breathtakingly beautiful and I’m very proud of the work the team has done here. We are giving back to the people of Hull a theatre that will serve them as well going forward as the original theatre has since it opened.”
Steve Gibson, Managing Director of Sewell Construction, said:
“We are very proud to have been trusted with the delivery of this project.
“It was a difficult technical delivery, design and refurbishment of an old building. We were very mindful of maintaining the integrity of the original structure while making a stage, entrance and public areas fit for a modern era.
“We are also building the new Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) alongside Hull New Theatre, which is all part of the transformation of Kingston Square, turning it into a destination which is a pleasure to visit and be proud of.”
Between now and September, staff from Hull City Council and Hull Culture and Leisure will take part in intensive training with the new equipment, events to test the theatre’s systems and young people’s workshops. Taking place throughout August, the preparations will ensure every detail is operating perfectly in time for its opening.
Hull residents and visitors will also have the chance to see the refurbished theatre in all its glory ahead of its official opening when its doors are opened as part of the annual
Heritage Open Days at the beginning of September. More details on this will be released through the hulltheatres.co.uk website.