Harrogate Theatre set to welcome back panto this November despite roof repair work going on to 2022
Harrogate Theatre is set to welcome back audiences this November with the magical adventures of Cinderella even though its £1 million roof repairs are now expected to stretch into early 2022.
Harrogate Borough Council first began essential work to replace the roof of Harrogate Theatre in May of this year with the hope of completing the job by December on what is the biggest building project at the theatre since it first opened in Victorian times.
But the theatre says, because of the complexity of this project, and the historic significance of the theatre, that was originally built in 1900, the project is now scheduled to be completed in March 2022.
In addition to being a complex piece of work, there have been commercial challenges in accessing materials and obtaining the right staff to work on the detailed parts of the project.
Staff shortages have also been impacted by coronavirus and isolation requirements which have been in place since the first lockdown in March 2020, although the theatre has successfully won major financial support from Arts Council England during the pandemic.
Work is now underway to make the building weather-tight ready to welcome audiences back to Cinderella, the theatre’s first event since lockdown began in March 2020.
The project work will continue into the new year, but will work around scheduled performances including our community groups who are eagerly waiting to return the building.
Coun Graham Swift, Harrogate Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development, said: “Like any heritage building of this age and complexity, there will always be a level of conservation and investment required to ensure the building is fit for another 120 years.
“Our significant investment in this local asset will allow the fantastic performances to continue, promote cultural activity in the town, attract visitors and support the local economy at a time when it is needed the most.
"Although the scaffolding will be up until the new year, while we complete these delicate and complex restoration works, the theatre is very much safe to use and I hope visitors enjoy the wonderful performance of Cinderella."
David Bown, chief executive of Harrogate Theatre, said: “While we are disappointed visitors won’t be able to see the grand exterior of the theatre before the performance, we are thankful that Harrogate Borough Council have been able to amend their schedule to work around the theatre reopening.
"We look forward to welcoming back audiences in November to Cinderella and to our spring programme in 2022.
“Although the building might not be looking its best until works are complete, the theatre will be filled with the joy of live performance once again and that’s something we are all looking forward to.”