March Refurbishment news.
At the start of the project, we undertook investigations and a ‘strip out’ in order to de-risk the programme as much as possible prior to starting works. These works were detailed but were limited as to the amount of intrusive works that could be undertaken in order to maintain health and safety and the structural integrity of the space prior to a main contractor coming aboard. As to be expected with older buildings, when the contractor started the works further structural components were identified that needed to be redesigned and procured.
Another challenge we and the industry are facing at present is the availability of materials and subcontractors.
As a result, we have had to revisit our programme and now plan to host the first public show at the end of October. We will continue to monitor and review the programme weekly throughout the project and though we are confident that these revised dates can be met, we will update stakeholders of any changes at the earliest opportunity. We will continue to work closely with organisations and producers with specific productions and events in the opening period to ensure everything is ready to go and will be ‘Alright on the Night’.
The demolition and bricklaying work has proceeded well and much of the steelwork is now in place to support the sound/light corridors, access to the wire tension grid and the to carry the plant for the air heating/cooling unit. Major monthly milestones are as follows.
We have finalised the arrangements for an orchestra pit after juggling multiple needs and priorities. There are two configurations a centre only option and a centre plus side.
The old system of taking up panels in the floor to lower the musician by 200m created numerous operational difficulties, safety concerns and potential hazards.
Having examined the new sightline, it has become clear that the increased elevation of the audience means that lowering the band is now unnecessary and so purpose made poles and baffling which click simply into place will be used to define an area in front of the stage for the band.
Balancing ingress/egress needs, space for musicians and equipment and appropriate front wheelchair spaces has been challenging but the solution presented takes on board all these needs. It also gives a deeper pit in the middle and marks space towards the side.
We’ve identified new types of seats for the band which are slimmer and more condusive to sitting when playing an instrument which will make better use of space.
The new cable runs and traps will mean we can get sound cables and power to the musicians wherever they are in the pit with less trip hazards and mess. We can also meet power and D.I requirements for musicians.
The use of digital instruments such as keyboards will help both in terms of space and ability to mix and manage the sound.
Future is Now Youth Arts Project
The joint project between The Borough Theatre, Melville Arts Centre and Dance Blast which has been funded through the UK Government Community Renewal Fund is running creative sessions for young people aged 10 – 24. Over the Summer term we are creating an interdisciplinary performance and a series of workshops, events and forums will be held under the title, ‘A Seat at the Table’. A youth theatre group is running at the Melville centre that will develop the original material.