Haymarket Theatre ready to re-open its doors
Published on 27 February 2018
AFTER a £3.6million refurbishment and a programme of works that has taken around 10 months to complete, Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre is ready to re-open to the public.
More than 10 years after it closed its doors, the revamped theatre will once again be welcoming visitors, with the first of several test events taking place on Friday (2 March).
Those with tickets for Friday’s event will make their way in through a brand new entrance that’s been created under the building’s overhanging roof.
From the piazza at the top of the steps, automatic doors lead into a remodelled lobby area, with glazed walls now flooding the space with light to create a bright and airy vestibule.
The theatre’s two bars – the main foyer bar and the upstairs bar – have been fully refurbished, and brand new toilets and baby-changing facilities have been installed.
Inside the revamped auditorium, 901 seats have been installed, with each of the brand new seats offering fantastic views of the Haymarket’s magnificent stage – still the largest in the UK.
Behind the scenes, production facilities and backstage areas have been refurbished, a new ‘green screen’ room and TV gallery have been provided, and the dressing rooms have been painted in colours inspired by Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – the musical that had its first major production at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre back in 1974.
With brand new lighting and sound systems in place, the building has been refurbished and upgraded to provide a versatile venue for a wide range of events and live performance – including the rapidly-growing e-sports industry.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring this building back to life – and very pleased that we were able to find a partner in the Haymarket Consortium that shared our determination to turn the theatre into an asset for the city once again.
“This programme of works has fully refurbished the Haymarket Theatre, providing the high quality facilities that people would expect to find in a modern venue and creating a flexible space for live performance and the growing e-sports market.
“Now that these works have been done, the theatre can be handed over to the consortium for its final fit-out, ready for its first public event on Friday.”
Jed Spittle, Artistic and Financial Director of the Haymarket Consortium, said: “We have waited with bated breath for this moment and feel incredibly proud to be here at last.
“The city council’s incredible support in this project has enabled us to bring one of Leicester’s most loved and iconic buildings back to life and we don’t take that challenge lightly – we'll be slowly reawakening the venue with a wide range of events, from dance and live music to circus and e-sports.
“We’re really looking forward to re-engaging with the city, and are thrilled to have an exciting programme of events in store which is already evolving on a weekly basis.”
Tickets for the theatre’s first test event – a production of the musical Hollywood Wiz by a local dance school Studio 79 – are still available and can be purchased at www.haytheatre.com. The show starts at 7.30pm on Friday (2nd).
The handover of the building to the Haymarket consortium marks the completion of the first phase of works. Phase two – which will provide new lift facilities and a permanent ticket office and cloakroom – will continue on site until next winter.
Works to refurbish the theatre steps and refresh the piazza area are being carried out by the owners of the Haymarket Shopping Centre.
The Haymarket Theatre opened in 1974 and closed in 2007, leaving the city council tied into a 99-year lease and responsible for an annual bill of around £180,000 in service charges and costs.
From 2020, the Haymarket consortium will take over responsibility for those charges.