City centre theatre set to reopen after lockdown renovation is complete

A theatre is getting ready to welcome back audiences after a lockdown revamp.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 5:15 pm

Durham County Council has completed renovation work at the Gala Theatre in Millennium Place, Durham, with the venue to reopen on Monday, June 21.

It has £600,000 invested in its refurbishment, which has included new flooring and seating in the auditorium, a new-look box office, display screens, signage and furniture.

Its cafe will also relaunch with a new menu, with food served from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

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Robin Byers, service manager for Gala Theatre, and Councillor Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships.
Robin Byers, service manager for Gala Theatre, and Councillor Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships.

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The council has been carefully planned the reopening in line with guidance from Step 3 of the government’s roadmap and are not affected by the announcement to delay Step 4.

To celebrate reopening, Gala Theatre will be screening the Academy-Award winning film Nomadland, which scooped best director, best picture and best actress at this year’s Oscars.

It will also be showing Peter Rabbit 2, sequel to the family favourite blockbuster animation with James Corden voicing the title character, with Disney’s Cruella to screen from June 25.

A small selection of socially distanced live performances will commence from Friday, July 9, with the production of Damned United.

A wider programme of live performances will resume in September.

All screenings are being sold in advance to ensure social distancing in the auditorium and seats will be allocated to ensure a safe distance away from the nearest group.

As per national guidance, face coverings will be needed while watching the film unless audiences are eating or drinking.

Visitors must also maintain a safe social distance around the building and when waiting to enter a screening.

Councillor Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "Reopening our theatres is a key part of our commitment to cultural-led regeneration.

“Creative industries contributed more than £116 billion to the UK economy in 2019, and the arts are set to play a crucial role in the county’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

"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.”

The council is also ready to relaunch Consett’s Empire Theatre on the same day following its own renovation.

For more information and to book cinema tickets, visit www.galadurham.co.uk.

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