We're sure that you've seen the scaffolding outside the Queen’s Theatre and possibly even seen large motors being carried inside. It’s all part of our backstage refurbishment scheme to bring the theatre up to date. Many of you won’t be aware that up till now, the big cloths and scenery over the stage have had to be hauled by our backstage staff up and down on ropes, just like a sailing ship in the 19th century. This is not a very safe process.
Well, with financial support from North Devon Council and the Arts Council, we are skipping the 20th century and moving straight to the 21st as we install a state of the art system using powered winches and computer controls. At the same time, the stage extension that we use for large-scale shows such as ballet and full orchestras will be motorised so that it can form the extension or convert into an orchestra pit at the press of a button. Right now, it takes four men all morning just to change the pit over.
The complete installation will take place during July and August when the Queen’s is shut for maintenance anyway, so the work shouldn’t disrupt any of our normal shows. It’s a big step forward for us, because it means we can take bigger shows and fit them in straightforwardly, and also we can change over from one type of show to another very easily.
By 14th September, it will all be finished. There won’t be much to be seen from outside, except for the shows of course, so if you would like to get closer to the action, join one of our technical backstage tours. In the meantime, thanks for your support too, and you can follow the comings and goings here on our website.
Sign up for all our latest news delivered direct to your inbox!