A £426,000 scheme to improve the customer experience at the Winding Wheel Theatre has been approved by councillors - in the year the venue celebrates its 30th anniversary.
It will see:
- An attractive new entrance area created to welcome customers, which will incorporate a combined café bar, information and ticket collection point, and ice cream and confectionary sales area. This will provide better facilities for customers before, during and after shows, and for people attending conferences and other functions.
- New toilets installed on the ground floor
- Wi-fi installed throughout the area
The investment will also help protect the historic grade two listed building and see an extension in to a former opticians shop next door to create part of the seating area for the café bar.
It will be paid for by the Theatre Restoration Levy, which is a charge added to ticket prices to provide a fund to improve customer facilities at the town’s theatres.
Councillor Steve Brunt, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “It is fitting that in the 30th year since we took over the former cinema and turned it in to the Winding Wheel Theatre that we are once again investing in improving the building.
“It is vital that the Winding Wheel Theatre constantly improves its offer for customers so that it can compete against other venues in the region - whether that is people coming to shows, those attending conferences, or individuals or groups booking it for private functions.
“We know from customer feedback that there is a demand for improved bar and catering facilities in support of the Winding Wheel Theatre's varied events programme. Opening the café bar will enable us to do this, as well as provide a space for conference visitors and shoppers to stop in for a drink and something to eat in a relaxing environment with wi-fi available.
“Thanks to the loyalty of our customers who have attended theatre shows over the past few years we have the funding in place to repay their faith in us by improving facilities and ensuring the Winding Wheel Theatre remains a modern and attractive venue to visit.”
The investment is part of a medium term plan to reduce the cost to tax payers of running the council’s two theatres – the Winding Wheel Theatre and the Pomegranate Theatre.
The combined running cost of both venues has already fallen by just under 50 per cent from £687,930 in 2011/12 to £345,850 by 2016/17.
Last year the Winding Wheel Theatre hosted 149 performances which were seen by 37,745 people. The building was also hired another 131 times for conferences, dinners, meetings, parties, weddings, religious services, a beer festival, blood donor sessions, dances, and fairs and exhibitions.