When I first visited the Theatre Royal Glasgow in 1976, the theatre was still a newly refurbished novelty. The auditorium was, and remains, a complete delight. But there was no disguising the fact that the foyer areas left something to be desired, despite being attractively designed.. Part of this stems from the fact that when the theatre was acquired originally by Scottish Opera, not all of the footprint of the original foyer space could be acquired. To a certain extent this has been remedied over the years, but the public spaces have remained rather resolutely cramped. Now this is seeking to be remedied.
Scottish Opera have started a campaign to raise £11.5 million to fund a new extension to the theatre in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. This extension will provide free and open access to all levels of the theatre, add a new cafe and bars, hospitality suites, lifts, plus a roof terrace and much needed education suite. 85% of the funds are in place, so there is just the final push to reach the goal. Of course, much of this is the detritus that every modern theatre seems to need, but in amongst all the bars, cafes and such, the plans remedy a real need. They seem set to transform the whole theatre going experience at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.
The theatre is the oldest one in Glasgow and opened in 1867. The auditorium was re-built after a fire in 1879. In 1957 the theatre was bought by Scottish Television and used as a TV theatre, studios and offices. When Scottish Television moved to custom built premises, they offered the building to Scottish Opera. Scottish Opera bought the building, refurbished it creating new foyer space, a new main staircase and expanding the pit. Though owned by Scottish Opera, the theatre is now managed by the Ambassador Theatre Group.
The construction work for the new building will last around 18 months, but the theatre will only be closed for three months in early 2014.
More information from the Scottish Opera/Theatre Royal Glasgow website.
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