After a year-long refurbishment, Durham’s Gala Theatre at Millennium Place has reopened, and has been welcoming visitors since 21st June.
The refurbishment, which includes new flooring and auditorium seating, and a remodelled box office, display screens, signage and furniture, cost £600,000.
To celebrate the theatre, which houses both a 72-seat cinema and 500-seat stage space, screened the recent Academy-Award winning title Nomadland as well as Peter Rabbit 2.
Social distancing measures have been in place to ensure a safe reopening in line with government coronavirus guidelines.
The Gala Theatre, which first opened in February 2002, hosts a variety of different shows, including plays by Durham Student Theatre. Upcoming entertainments include performances of Horrible Histories Live! in late July and a stand-up show by the comedian Sarah Millican in September.
The well-loved theatre’s redevelopment is part of a wider project by Durham Council as the Empire Theatre in Consett opened at the same time. The renovation of the Empire cost slightly more at £823,000 with the redevelopment of toilets, the front of house area and the purchase of new stage and technical equipment.
The now defunct organisation, Friends of Empire, contributed £11,500 to the Empire’s refurbishment.
Reflecting on the reopening of both theatres, Counsellor Elizabeth Scott said “By welcoming visitors back to the Gala and Empire theatres, we can help support the recovery of local businesses, especially the hospitality and retail sector, which have been hit hard by the pandemic”.
Image: Mark Norton