Get behind the scenes on a ‘hard hat’ tour of Tamworth Assembly Rooms

Tamworth residents are being invited to take part in free hard hat tours of Tamworth Assembly Rooms to see first-hand what’s been happening behind the scenes at the historic theatre.

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The Corporation Street entertainment venue has been at the heart of the Tamworth community since 1889 and is currently undergoing the biggest transformation in its 130-year history.

Part of a £6.1million regeneration of the ‘Enterprise Quarter’ section of Tamworth, the work includes extensions to the building to add new multi-use space, a new café/bar area, extra toilets and better facilities throughout for both performers and audiences.

The project is progressing well and people are now being invited to go behind the scenes with the main contractor, Novus, Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts and Events staff and technicians to see the work that has taken place so far and to find out all about the exciting development.

During the tour, people will be able to see the building’s increased footprint and new spaces, the improved flow and access throughout and the amazing new windows, which have been opened up for the first time in half a century. There will also be a sneak peek of the new colour scheme and impressive new stage grid.

Tours will be held for the theatre’s group of ambassadors, which is made up of local businesses, representatives of arts and dance groups and local community champions, various groups who regularly use the theatre, members of the town’s Cultural Education Partnership, councillors and members of the public who are interested in getting a sneak peek of the theatre as a work in progress.

Public tours will take place on Friday, March 15, Friday, March 22 and Friday, March 29 with tours at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm each day. As the site will be operational throughout the visits, each tour will be able to accommodate eight people.

Anyone attending must be over 18 and able to provide their own steel toe-capped safety boots. Hard hats and high visibility vests will be provided.

To book a place on a tour visit www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk/whats-on, or call the box office on 01827 709618.

The new-look Tamworth Assembly Rooms is due to open its doors this autumn with a more versatile, more accessible, state-of-the-art community and entertainment venue that is fit for 21st century audiences.

It is being extended to the sides and rear to add new multi-use space, extra toilet facilities and larger staging and backstage areas. As well as much-needed extra room, this will also provide opportunities for the theatre to be used for a wider range of events.

The aim is for the glass-fronted multi-use space at the front of the new extension to be used for a variety of events such as conferences, art exhibitions, galleries and meetings. During the evenings, it could be used for smaller events such as open-mic nights, poetry readings and comedy nights.

The rear of the extension will provide improved backstage facilities, including a glass-walled ‘green room’, practise space for performers and dressing rooms.

Cllr Daniel Cook, Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said: “The transformation of Tamworth Assembly Rooms is the biggest refurbishment to the theatre since it was built 130 years ago and represents a huge investment in the town. However the investment was necessary if this building was going to continue entertaining audiences for another 130 years. It needed to adapt and it needed to diversify.

“This is a really exciting project and we’re delighted to be able to invite Tamworth residents behind the scenes of their theatre so they can see first-hand what amazing changes are planned and how it’s starting to take shape. It’s very interesting to see the theatre as it is currently and I’d encourage people to take this opportunity to have a look round.”

The Assembly Rooms refurbishment is part of the wider £6.1m scheme to create a new Enterprise Quarter in the heart of Tamworth. This also includes a new use for the Carnegie Centre and the development of new ‘public realm’ open space outside.

The project is being funded by the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent LEP Single Local Growth Fund (£2.95m), the Heritage Lottery Fund (£903,400), Arts Council England (£365,000) and the remainder from Staffordshire County Council and Tamworth Borough Council.

Visit www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk, where you can follow the latest developments via the Tamworth Assembly Rooms blog and sign up to receive all the latest news, offers and information.

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