We have light! Work’s progressing well in the auditorium

With the back-of-house areas progressing nicely, work in the auditorium itself has now got under way!

The back of house areas are fully boarded, plastered and we can even switch the lights on! The toilets are nearly completed and a central heating system goes in at the beginning of July. We’re now starting to think about all the fun stuff – paint colours, dressing room tables, mirrors…

At the same time, work has finally begun in the auditorium.

In May our two lighting grids were assembled, hoisted up and attached to the ceiling. The space instantly became more like a theatre, and we could finally rig up some working light and illuminate the space for the first time. It was quite a moment.

Since then, the pace has been relentless.

We’ve made some crucial adjustments to ensure the space is accessible for everyone. Then came some specialist fire-resistant paint to keep things safe. And cables, hundreds of metres of cables! As you can imagine, a theatre needs all sorts of power, lighting, sound and data cables buried in the walls, and this was done by other competent professionals and some very willing volunteers.

Getting the cables in meant we could finally put in all the soundproofing, plasterboard and plaster finish required. The demands of keeping sound out, and sound in, are significant – and not easy when we’re neighbours to a particularly popular pub! So we’re going belt and braces and thinking about some testing to see where our leaky bits are (so to speak) and improving them.

We’ve selected our contractors for the raked seating bank and the huge sprung timber floor, and these two massive pieces of the puzzle will be completed by the end of August (all things being equal).

So, when might the theatre be open?

In summary, your future theatre has come a long way in recent weeks, and it’s a question of WHEN we’ll be ready to open now, not if. So when might that be? We have a couple more funding bids in the pipeline and hope to hear in the autumn. It’s hard to be more definite with so many variables – funding, contractor waiting times, supply chain issues etc – but the official line at the moment is: “Maybe this year, definitely next year!”

Spitfire Group flies even higher in support of Crown Wharf Theatre

The Star of Stone Spitfire Group has further increased its generous support for the Crown Wharf Theatre.

The Spitfire Group aims to keep the story of the Star of Stone alive and to celebrate the huge community effort in the town that delivered the plane. In 1942, a Spitfire was donated to the war effort after the people of Stone raised £5,000.

The Spitfire Group had already made both the Spitfire and its pilot, Flt Lt Karl Jacobsen, Gold Founding Partners in the theatre.

This prompted four members to become Bronze Founding Partners themselves: Geoff Berriman, project leader; Gillian Weldon, chief admin officer; Peter Williams, IT officer; and Mark Wilson, group member and principal engineer at EleV8aviation.

In addition, the Group’s Canadian Wing decided to become Bronze Founding Partners. And the Russell family followed suit and decided to make John Russell, Spitfire Group project manager, and Noreen Russell, Group chaplain, joint Bronze Founding Partners.

Spitfire Group project leader Geoff Berriman said: “Crown Wharf Theatre is a tremendously important artistic development for the town, which includes a strong strand of its local history. Our Project of Remembrance for our Spitfire and its pilot fits into this perfectly. We have been able to make a substantial contribution to the funding of the Theatre. In return we have a permanent presence for the Star and all who flew with her. We could not hope for a better project to support, so we are now looking for ways to extend it even further.”

Leo Capernaros, Crown Wharf Theatre trustee, said: “We’re so proud to be backed by The Star of Stone Spitfire Group. Their generous support is helping us to push the project further towards completion. We’ve been so fortunate, right from the beginning, to have so many people stepping forward and backing the theatre. From individuals helping at our fundraising events, to businesses donating their time and expertise, to organisations like The Star of Stone Spitfire Group becoming founding partners, getting the theatre open is a real community effort.”

A ceremony was held at Crown Wharf in June where Leo Caperanos, Crown Wharf Theatre trustee, was presented with the cheques.