The colonnade foyer. Photograph: Sirastudio
The colonnade foyer. Photograph: Sirastudio

After a year and £6 million, it’s almost time for the curtain to go up on the new-look York Theatre Royal.

The theatre closed for redevelopment in March 2015. It reopens again on Friday, April 22, after an overhaul which has touched almost every part of the 272-year-old building.

Its first production will be Brideshead Revisited, an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s wartime novel famously turned into a TV series.

YorkMix went on a tour of the new-look York Theatre Royal, and here’s what you can expect…

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Where the money was spent

The glazed colonnade. Photograph: Sirastudio
The glazed colonnade. Photograph: Sirastudio

So what do you get for six million?

  • A seating area inside the glazed colonnade
  • A new foyer space with colour-changing counters, created from broom cupboards under the dress circle
  • A new Terrazzo floor
  • More and better loos
  • A lift giving disabled visitors access to the dress circle
  • Noise insulation allowing the cafés to operate during performance times
  • New seating in the auditorium
  • A new rake in the stalls and gallery to allow better sightlines
  • Better air conditioning to improve audience comfort and reduce energy use
  • The creation of a flat, modular stage which offers increased innovation
  • Individual rooflights to allow in more daylight
  • A major roof overhaul.
The auditorium with new seats and sightlines. Photograph: Sirastudio
The auditorium with new seats and sightlines. Photograph: Sirastudio

Where the money came from:

  • £770K from City of York Council – but its annual subsidy will be scrapped, saving the council £124,000 next year
  • £2.9 million from Arts Council England
  • more than £2 million from York Conservation Trust, which bought York Theatre Royal from the council for £1
  • £500K from public donations
  • other contributions from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, The Feoffees
    of St Michael’s, Spurriergate and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The architects for the redevelopment were De Matos Ryan.

The new skylights
The new skylights
The glazed colonnade. Photograph: John Saunders
Another view of the colonnade. Photograph: John Saunders
From the colonnade to the foyer. Photograph: John Saunders
From the colonnade to the foyer. Photograph: John Saunders
The theatre bar upstairs. Photograph: Sirastudio
The theatre bar upstairs. Photograph: Sirastudio
A venerable old lady… York Theatre Royal. Photograph: Sirastudio
A venerable old lady… York Theatre Royal. Photograph: Sirastudio