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Telford Theatre

Telford & Wrekin Council building a bright future for Oakengates

Two pictures showing the remodelling of Telford Theatre.

Vision

 

Telford & Wrekin Council has been awarded funding from central government’s Levelling Up Fund to remodel and expand Telford Theatre @ Oakengates.

The current theatre building is now nearly 60 years old and requires significant maintenance and upgrade in the next few years. The Levelling Up Funding is enabling us to largely rebuild, remodel and expand the theatre, with new entrances including one adjacent to the car park. This will ensure there is a modern theatre in Oakengates for many years to come.

This project complements the Telford Towns Fund Oakengates Theatre Quarter project, turning a 1960s precinct into a modern and welcoming visitor experience.

By drawing more people to Oakengates, our aim is to boost both daytime and evening economic activity, participation in culture and stimulate further investment to support the visitor economy in Oakengates and across the Borough.

Download the funding application.

The project

 

This project is supported by the Levelling Up fund and Telford & Wrekin Council.


The Project will deliver:

  • Upgraded state-of-the-art facilities including a larger main auditorium for bigger and better performances, and modernised backstage facilities for artists.
  • A separate studio theatre providing a new space for community groups to perform in and a broader cultural programme.
  • An enhanced visitor experience with a newly transformed foyer, a theatre dining offer and new bar with upgraded amenities for visitors’ comfort, including additional toilets.
  • A community art room to provide a dedicated space for community rehearsals and creative activities and collaboration.
  • Sustainability improvements through investment into green technology to significantly reduce the theatre's carbon footprint.
  • More space for community events and socialising turning Telford Theatre into a true cultural and social hub.
  • A new entrance to the theatre at car park level improving access for visitors.

 

Consultation

 

Latest consultation – December 2023

The latest consultation for the Telford Theatre remodelling project which included a public event and community survey carried out in December 2023 is now complete, signifying a step forward in transforming Telford Theatre @ Oakengates.

Two successful drop-in events at Telford Theatre on 5 and 6 December 2023 drew in over 120 people, representing diverse interests from amateur dramatics club members, residents, local businesses and show producers. During the events there was opportunity to view the initial designs and for the public to share their feedback to inform future design. In addition 597 people completed the community survey where they gave their views on the latest proposals

Key findings from the consultation include:

  • 79% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the initial plans for the theatre
  • the greatest support was for the introduction of additional toilets, with 91.8% in favour
  • 85.7% supported the introduction of green technology.
  • 83.2% favoured the creation of a larger main auditorium, and 80.7% supported a new bar/foyer
  • 74.9% believed that remodelling the theatre would attract more visitors to Oakengates, supporting local businesses
  • 67.5% thought it would improve the town centre and raise the reputation and profile of Oakengates
  • 76.6% agreed that the proposed new entrances would improve access to the theatre.
  • 64.5% indicated that the plans would make them much more likely or more likely to visit the theatre in the future.

Many other insightful comments were received about the proposed changes and these are already helping to inform the next stages of design. We will provide further updates on how comments have influenced the designs over the coming months.

For a summary of the Telford Theatre Survey findings, download Telford Theatre @ Oakengates Consultation survey report.

To view a summary of further comments received, you can download Appendix - Telford Theatre @ Oakengates Remodelling Consultation Survey.

 

May/June 2022

To inform the development of the Telford Theatre proposals, engagement was carried out in May and June 2022. This included a survey which was widely promoted to the community and our theatre patrons, engagement with theatre promoters and the Theatres Trust, and in-depth discussions with local stakeholders.

1,590 people responded to the survey, three quarters of respondents were Telford and Wrekin residents with representation from all 30 wards.

The results showed:

  • 99% agreed that it was important for Telford and Wrekin to have a Theatre/performance venue;
  • 97% agreed that taking part in arts and cultural activities benefits the local community;
  • 64% said that they want to have a drink before and after the show
  • 50% said that they want to go for a meal
  • 37% said that Telford Theatre is their most visited venue;
  • 70% said that if there was a wider choice of things to do in or near the Theatre before or after shows they would be more likely to visit.

The top 6 themes about what needed to be improved at Telford Theatre were:

  • The bar area
  • Seating (bar and auditorium)
  • Increased quality/variety of acts
  • Toilets
  • Entrance/outside
  • Restaurant/Hospitality Offer.

Download a copy of survey results.

Previous consultations

A review of previous community engagement about Telford Theatre was also completed to inform initial designs. This has included analysis of a range of surveys and customer reviews over the last 10 years.

Key milestones

 

Autumn/Winter 2023
Consultation and engagement activity.


Spring 2024
Submit planning application and expected planning decision.


Spring 2024
Theatre closure for works.


Summer 2024
Works on site.


Winter 2026
Full reopening of Telford Theatre.


Project team

The project is being managed by the Telford & Wrekin Council Place Programme team.

To contact the team about this project email oakengatesregeneration@telford.gov.uk.


Frequently asked questions

 

Levelling up funding will support the remodelling and expansion of Telford Theatre in Oakengates and will deliver a broader cultural programme, hosting bigger names and shows, significantly improving the visitor experience and providing additional space for community groups and organisations.

The current theatre building is now nearly sixty years old, requiring significant maintenance in the next few years. The levelling up funding will enable us to build a brand-new auditorium, whilst retaining some of the newer parts of the existing building. This will ensure there is a modern theatre in Oakengates for many years to come. The new building will also be much more energy efficient and will use the latest technology such as air source heat pumps to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the building.

Remodelling of the theatre will complement the Towns Funded Oakengates Theatre Quarter project located adjacent to the theatre, which will transform the 1960’s shopping precinct into a modern, welcoming visitor experience for residents and visitors alike.

The combined investment of these two projects will help to bring more people to Oakengates, increasing footfall and the Theatre Quarter’s daytime and evening economy.

The remodelled theatre will increase the capacity of the main auditorium to 750 seats. The new secondary studio theatre will have a capacity of 98 seats, increasing the overall capacity of the theatre by 210 seats.

Public circulation spaces will be larger and access points to the theatres will be improved. We will also be including additional and enhanced facilities to support the increased capacity, for example, more toilets, bar areas and hospitality.

Find details regarding consultation for the Telford Theatre Remodelling Project here. This includes the results of the most recent public event and community survey held in December 2023.

The council recognises this is a period of uncertainty for businesses and is in contact with those directly affected by the proposals.

Tailored support will be provided to these businesses to assist them with a move to new premises during the works. Whilst some businesses will have an opportunity to return to their current premises in the theatre once the works are complete, others will be supported with a permanent move. Whether businesses want to remain in Oakengates or relocate to another area within Telford, we will work with them to find suitable premises.

Work is not programmed to start until Summer 2024 which provides a lead in period for the Council to help businesses plan and to minimise the effects on businesses and the wider town centre whilst works are underway.

Whilst the library will close in its current location during the works it is planned that the library will be relocated and remain open.

Based on the current programme, the theatre is expected to be closed from Spring 2024 until Winter 2026.

The proposed theatre development sits within a wider programme of works that will significantly improve the Oakengates Theatre Quarter. These developments will inevitably have some impact on the locality, but we will endeavour to minimise this impact wherever possible. Further details about changes to pedestrian routes etc will follow.

We are committed to the ongoing provision of free car parking within council owned car parks in Oakengates. We are aware of the issues of car parking availability due in part to people using the car park to catch the train and are therefore working to develop a long term parking plan in Oakengates, considering concerns raised.

We will be looking to programme cultural performances within the borough during the theatre closure utilising our parks and open spaces and working with partner venues.

The much needed improved backstage facilities and larger capacity auditorium will attract a wider range of performers and performances raising the profile of Telford Theatre amongst promoters, agents, and artists.

The additional secondary studio space will provide an opportunity to extend the current programme offering a wider and more diverse range of culture and entertainment, developing new audiences, working with communities, and increasing cultural participation.

View information about all future public consultations via face to face, online events and surveys

Sign up to the Telford Theatre mailing list, if you would like to be kept up to date about what is going on at the theatre.

Alternatively, if you would like to contact one of the team regarding the project please oakengatesregeneration@telford.gov.uk.

A red silhouette of the Telford and Wrekin strapline.