Blackfriars Theatre opens its refurbished theatre seats

Guests at the opening of the refurbished seating at Blackfriars Theatre.
Guests at the opening of the refurbished seating at Blackfriars Theatre.

There will be bums on new seats after Blackfriars Theatre has officially unveiled its refurbishment.

The first phase of the theatre’s refurbishment has been completed and includes new seats in rows A-G, along with extra legroom created by extending the footplates by three inches and widening the chairs by removing one from each row.

There are also now six set disabled spaces, and the first row of seats can be removed if more are needed.

It has cost about £240 per seat to do and a number of the seats were paid for by private investors.

Trustee Rob Barclay said: “It feels great actually, like we’re going in the right direction and starting to give the people of Boston what they want.

“We’ve had people tell us for years they need more leg room and more space and we’re finally able to give them that.”

The official opening ceremony was carried out by Boston MP Matt Warman who was joined by a number of guests including The Mayor of Boston Coun Richard 
Austin.

Blackfriars chairman Stuart Bull thanked his fellow committee members and all the volunteers and associates of the theatre who 
had been a part of the achievement.

The refurbishment will now move on to the second phase, which is hoped to be started next year and will include improving access for disabled people, refurbishing the rest of the chairs on the upper levels and alterations and improvements to the rest of the building.

The team is now looking to raise the money for this second phase.

Choreographer Abi Kingsley-Parker said: “After speaking to guests at the event it was evident that Blackfriars means and offers so much to different people, to some it’s a social gathering space for coffee mornings, art exhibitions and classes. It’s also a performance home to many local theatre societies, a platform for quality touring entertainment and to several youngsters in the community it’s a training ground for performing arts with a resident academy and other theatre and dance schools also utilising the fabulous theatre for productions and 
festivals.”

Coun Austin said a ‘supreme improvement’ had been made and stressed the importance of the theatre to the community.

He said: “Visiting Blackfriars Theatre for a performance is now like flying club class.”

The money for the first phase of the refurbishmentcame from a number of sources including seat sponsorships, commercial sponsors, a family legacy donation and a sizeable gift from an anonymous individual.

To finance the second phase, two initiatives along will join others already in place.

The theatre will be introducing a 50p per ticket refurbishment ‘levy’ from September 2015.

This money will go directly into a fund to maintain and improve the facilities and also creates ‘match funding’ opportunities to explore and apply for.

The Sponsor a Seat campaign will also be ‘re-launched’ our ‘Sponsor a Seat’. The offer includes an engraved message/dedication on a seat of the donor’s choice (subject to availability).

For details visit www.blackfriarsartscentre.co.uk