Play to the Crowd, the charity that runs Theatre Royal Winchester, has announced that the theatre will undergo a number of refurbishments to further improve the building for its audiences and other visitors.
Theatre Royal Winchester will undergo work to upgrade its Circle level toilet facilities upstairs and install bi-fold doors at the Tower Street end of the foyer to improve its downstairs space.
The Circle toilet project will provide audiences with two brand-new sets of toilets – a block of women’s toilets plus four individual self-contained cubicles, each with its own sink and hand-dryer, which everyone can use. The new toilets will also help the charity reduce its environmental footprint as the new facilities use significantly less water than the current facilities.
It is hoped the improvements will help to reduce queueing, provide everyone with facilities they feel comfortable using and improve the overall audience experience.
The Circle toilet project began in late July and is expected to be completed next month. Audiences are still able to use the theatre’s other facilities downstairs via the Atrium, as well as the accessible toilet opposite the lift entrance in the Atrium.
The second building project is set to improve the foyer space downstairs. This autumn, bi-fold doors will be installed that will open out onto Tower Street and the space outside The Arc.
It is hoped the refurbishment will bring more light into the building and allow audiences to enjoy pre-show drinks in that space during the warmer, summer months.
The work is expected to start next week and will last approximately six weeks.
A temporary hoarding will be in place for the comfort and safety of the theatre’s staff and audience members and the Box Office will be temporarily moved to the other end of the foyer into the Atrium and will be open Tue – Sat, 10am – 1pm.
The Tower Street entrance and accessible toilet next to it will both be out of action during this period.
Deryck Newland, Chief Executive of Play to the Crowd, comments “We are really excited that this phase of work is starting, it’s been a long time in the planning. We originally had hoped to put in the bi-fold doors when we reconfigured and refurbished our foyer in 2019, although it was too much of a financial stretch at that time. Fortunately, though, we have been able to secure some funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Community Infrastructure Levy, as well as using some of the restoration levy that is added to every ticket sold at Theatre Royal Winchester to fund this project.”
Deryck continues, “The bi-fold doors project is all about breaking down barriers to entering our building – we want to be as transparent as possible and encourage everyone to see inside and be encouraged to come in! We have needed to improve our toilet facilities for a while now. The plan for the circle toilets refurbishment is about beginning to increase the number of toilets we have as well as introducing some gender-neutral cubicles to give additional flexibility and make everyone feel welcome. This project is also supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation and our own Restoration Levy. We had hoped that both projects would have been completed by the start of our autumn season but delays out of our control haves meant that the works are ongoing. We ask our audiences for some patience during this time – it will be worth the wait and disruption!”