Exciting plans are underway to improve the facilities and visitor experience at the historic Victoria Theatre in Halifax. The renowned Grade II listed building, located in the heart of the town centre, is set to undergo significant enhancements following the recent granting of planning approval. The next step involves appointing a contractor for the upcoming works, with the process expected to be completed this autumn.
Recognised as one of the top event venues in the region, the Victoria Theatre is poised to receive a boost from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund. The funding will be instrumental in augmenting the visitor experience and ensuring that more individuals can fully enjoy the theatre’s offerings.
A key feature of the improvement plans is the introduction of a new box office on Commercial Street, which will operate with independent opening hours. This development will pave the way for the transformation of the existing box office and part of the foyer area into a vibrant café/bar. Patrons will have access to new food and drink opportunities, and the space could even host small performances, adding to the theatre’s dynamic atmosphere.
The proposals also encompass crucial accessibility upgrades. For the first time in its history, the venue will feature a new lift that will transport visitors to the Green Room Bar. Additionally, two new accessible toilets will be installed, significantly enhancing the visitor experience for individuals with specific access requirements.
Earlier this year, planning approval, including listed building consent, was successfully obtained for the project. With this milestone achieved, the focus has shifted to appointing a contractor to carry out the necessary works. The process is well underway, and it is anticipated that construction will commence in mid-October.
Throughout the duration of the project, the theatre will continue to operate as usual, with performances proceeding unaffected. However, it is important to note that the appearance of the building will undergo changes, and some facilities may experience temporary disruptions.
The renovation endeavours are slated to be finalised by summer 2024, just in time for the borough’s Year of Culture celebrations. The Victoria Theatre is expected to play a central role in the planned major events program, underscoring the significance of culture to the local economy and communities.
Councillor Sarah Courtney, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Tourism, and Voluntary Sector, expressed her enthusiasm about the revitalisation of the Victoria Theatre. She emphasised its importance as part of the £11.7 million Future High Streets work, which aims to invigorate Halifax. The funding also supports other projects in the town, including completed works at Northgate House, ongoing improvements at Halifax Borough Market, and the creation of new welcoming spaces and improved connections between existing attractions.
Councillor Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, commended the rich history of the Victoria Theatre, which has delighted audiences for over 120 years. The planned renovations, made possible by the Future High Streets funding, will breathe new life into the foyer and box office area, introducing enhanced facilities, improved accessibility, and exciting new food and drink options. The preservation of the iconic Grade II listed building’s heritage features has been a key consideration in the meticulous design of the project. Notably, the theatre’s impressive lineup of events will proceed as scheduled during the renovation period, with the works expected to be completed in time for the 2024 Calderdale Year of Culture celebrations.