Works shine a spotlight on Halifax’s heritage buildings

Victoria Theatre, Halifax

Work to enhance the Victoria Theatre in Halifax has reached a key milestone, with structural work now complete to link the foyer to the former box office and vacant shop unit, to create a new café and bar.

The Victoria Theatre is an impressive Grade II listed building in Halifax town centre, and one of the top events venues in the region. Funding from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund is being used to enhance the experience for those visiting and ensure that more people can enjoy all that the theatre has to offer.

Building work is now well underway, with the current focus around the front of the theatre to make better use of the space in the building and improve access for visitors.

The contractors have now knocked through from the foyer to join the area to the former box office and the vacant former Shoesmiths/newsagents unit.

There will also be a new box office on Commercial Street, which will be able to have independent opening hours. The current box office and part of the foyer area will become a new café/bar which, under current plans, will provide new food and drink opportunities and could hold small performances.

The work to form the new openings has required the installation of temporary propping for structural support and new lintels which have allowed for the openings to be formed.

The preservation of the building’s heritage is key throughout the plans. The new doors, which will be added to the refurbished areas, have been carefully chosen to ensure they are complementary to the existing historical doors in the foyer. The colour scheme also reflects the original colour palette, enhancing the heritage features of the building.

Following the work to the foyer area, construction will continue, with upcoming major milestones including the installation of a new lift taking visitors to the Circle Level Bar for the first time in the venue’s history. Two new accessible toilets will also be installed.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said:

“As we approach our Year of Culture, which starts in April this year, it’s great that work is progressing well to transform this key cultural venue.

“Whilst the works at the theatre are extensive, the show must go on, and performances are unaffected. We’re doing all we can to minimise any disruption, and although our box office is closed for in-person bookings, our teams are working hard to respond to telephone and email enquiries, and as always, our online booking is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Tourism and Voluntary Sector, Cllr Sarah Courtney, said:

“The ongoing works at the Victoria Theatre are set to transform the visitor experience. The recent demolition works, which have involved knocking through the wall between the foyer and the former box office, and also into the vacant shop unit next door, will enable the creation of new improved areas and facilities.

“Supporting thriving towns and places is a priority for the Council, and Future High Streets work across Halifax town centre will boost economic growth whilst also protecting our distinctive heritage.”

The significant work at the Victoria Theatre is part of an £11.7million package of Future High Streets funding being used to deliver ambitious regeneration work in Halifax town centre, including at Halifax Borough Market.

Work on the historic market is progressing well and listed building consent has now been given to install new signage at each market entrance to promote the traders and events on offer.

A modern new entrance canopy is being installed at the Albion Street entrance in April, with further work taking place to repair the paving around this side of the building. This means that this entrance will be temporarily closed from 8 April to the 30 April and work is taking place with traders to keep them updated and arrange alternative access for deliveries.

The market remains open throughout the works and the Council is doing everything it can to minimise disruption.

For more information about the Halifax Future High Streets Fund works, including work on the Borough Market and Victoria Theatre, visit Halifax Future High Streets | Calderdale Next Chapter(external link).

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