They say all the world’s a stage – and thanks to the installation of a number of steel columns, York Theatre Royal finally has a flat one.
Until recent refurbishment work was carried out, the theatre’s stage was more like a world of problems, with various alterations and extensions over the years giving it an irregular shape with no clear centre line.
Staging productions was problematic as a result of this – and in many cases, touring productions would have to miss out the venue, or put it last on the list of dates, as scenery and other equipment would need to be adapted to the awkward conditions.
Now steel columns installed under the stage have allowed it to be given a much more consistent shape and a surface level enough not only for actors to perform on, but also for dance productions to take place.
It’s not only on the stage where the York Theatre Royal has literally been taken to a new level, either – the auditorium has lost around 100 seats, but that has allowed the remaining seating to be given a more terraced, stadium-style slope, giving everyone a better view.
As a result, there is literally not a bad seat in the house – a claim often made by theatres, but one that is rarely backed up by those who visit the venue.
Further work is being carried out by the York Conservation Trust, including replacing the entire roof of the theatre, which poses plenty of challenges in its own right, with 30 different sloping sections.
Some roofs are flat, while others slope at up to 60 degrees – and all pitched roofs on the site are being fitted with insulation to improve energy efficiency too.
Inside, better sound separation between the auditorium and the other parts of the venue mean the bar and cafe can be used throughout the day for the relaxation of customers, or to serve as a meeting place.