Budding thespians and aspiring starlets in Potters Bar have a new platform from which to shine, thanks to funding collected from a levy on developers in Hertsmere.
A new sliding stage proscenium arch and dance stage floor was officially unveiled at Wyllyotts Theatre yesterday (Monday 21 October), one of a number of recent improvements to the site made possible with a grant from our Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF). The proscenium, which is removable and can be opened up to different widths, enables more imaginative use of the space, and the new flooring provides a unique space for dancers to perform bare foot or on points.
Head of Planning and Economic Development, Adrien Waite, presented a plaque recognising that the project had been completed in partnership with the council. An £18,000 grant was provided for the stage, and a further £30,000 used to create a multi-purpose function room at the theatre.
Appearing on the refurbished stage, this week, is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Back row, Harry Donohoe and Barry Ellis, and front, Adrien Waite and Ginny Williams.
Mr Waite said: “The Wyllyotts Theatre is at the heart of the local community, and attracts a huge range of performers from ballet and opera to wrestling and comedy.
“The stage is a really impressive piece of kit, which enables users of the theatre much more flexibility and freedom in their performances.
“It will benefit all the community groups, local amateur dramatic societies, dance schools and children’s drama groups, who currently use the venue, as well as professional companies who perform here.
“It will also help the Wyllyotts Theatre attract more bookings, increasing their revenue, which in turn will lead to more investment in future shows and programmes.
“I’m delighted that Hertsmere Borough Council through our infrastructure fund, have been able to support these improvements.”
In addition, the multi-purpose room has been created with sliding partition doors, which means it can be used as a separate room or become part of the existing foyer.
Formerly an under-used office, the room will be available for community use during the day, such as activities for Generation Plus or children, and in the evenings can be opened up to enable more pre-show catering and drinks provision.
Ginny Williams, theatre manager, said: "The building is so busy and so loved by the community, any improvements are very welcome and both of these projects make a huge difference to what we can offer here."
The CIF is a pool of funding the council has collected from a levy on certain types of new development that can be used for improving local facilities and services.
It was announced at the beginning of the year that 16 organisations had been successful in bidding for funding. Two groups received larger amounts of money, totalling more than £600,000, including Elstree University and Technical College and Communities 1st (formerly Community Hertsmere).
Funding for a further 14 groups, including schools and sports clubs, was agreed by the council’s Executive committee in December last year, with the money set to help improve community buildings, outdoor spaces and sports facilities.
Other recipients include the Noah’s Ark Hospice, which was given £29,467 to facilitate the construction of its children hospice in High Barnet. The hospice, which supports children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in the borough, opened last month.
All the applicants had to fulfil specific funding criteria.
Posted on Tuesday 22nd October 2019