Big refurb is under way at Blackfriars

Old seats have gone to make way for more comfortable ones with extra leg room. Photo: Blackfriars Theatre
Old seats have gone to make way for more comfortable ones with extra leg room. Photo: Blackfriars Theatre

A massive programme to replace seats is underway at Blackfriars Arts Centre in readiness for the theatre’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Stars including Blackfriars patrons Richard Digance and international opera singer Alison Pearce will be among the famous names coming to town in 2016 to mark the half-centenary since Boston Preservation Trust created their ‘little theatre’ in Spain Lane.

But you could become a big name in the theatre too – or perhaps create a memorial to a loved one – by sponsoring one of the new seats being installed.

For as little as £100, you can have a plaque placed on the back of your seat and help the charity that runs the theatre.

Rob Barclay, one of the Blackfriars trustees, said the first phase of seats (Rows A-G) has been taken out and ‘footplates’ on which they stand will be widened to afford more leg room for theatre-goers – then carpeting will be laid and the new wider, more comfortable seats will go in.

So far the theatre has received a total of £7,500 from its plea for people to back its ‘sponsor a seat campaign’, about a quarter of the overall cost of the first phase.

Mr Barclay said: “We are very grateful but we would like more people to come forward as we are a charity and volunteer-run. The more support we can get the better.”

The first phase will be completed by September 5, when Heritage Opera perform Verdi’s La Traviata. The remainder of the seats will be replaced in August next year. That work includes a redesign of the old lighting/sound box and will add extra seats to the 224-seat theatre.