Each Year, during the “dark time” at the theatre after the last Christmas and New Year Pantomime, a major project is undertaken by the maintenance team. This year’s project being the remodelling and refurbishment of the theatre bar.
The working room within the bar area is particularly restricted, and due to the theatre becoming more and more popular, ensuring the bar runs smoothly is a must. After discussions with the bar managers, we had a brief to; Create more space behind the bar – Raise the rest of the already part raised floor behind the bar for ease of operation for staff – Remove all the black wall paint to make the area lighter and brighter – Extend the bar surface so that tea and coffee facilities could be relocated away from the main bar area – Make the shelving deeper to create room for additional spirit optics so that staff did not have to cross one another – Repaint the bar room itself as it was looking “tired and discoloured” using the same cotton cream and dark grey colours as the foyer and main stairwells.
To this end, our team, consisting of; Chris Turner, Peter Tuppen, Geoff Klein, Dave Jupe and I, set about formulating a plan to make this happen. Around October, I drew up a plan of the bar; we took measurements and then ordered most of the materials in readiness for the refurbishment. The shelving is a proprietary unit which we modified and then painted stained and varnished to speed up the process come the time, the two new optic rails were also made and ready to go as well as the backing boards to affix everything back onto. On the 3rd January 2020 all the pictures came down, leaflets removed, curtains down, chiller units out from behind bar, the optics were removed, all sales goods stored behind the bar was removed, the bar shelving was dismantled, tables and chairs stored away and everything was bare.
The work began, the old bar front was removed, floor marked and we set out to bring the raised floor forwards and out to the side so that the whole floor is raised. Meanwhile the old bar top was removed, the front stripped and refaced with plywood and the decorative mouldings added. Our backup painting volunteers; Jacqui and Rob Robertson, Dave Pointer and Matt Day had already begun the task of painting the walls leading down the staircase to the bar and then onto the bar room itself. Early in the second week of refurbishment, the new flooring was laid after the area behind the bar had been painted with numerous coats to cover the existing black paint. Working hard also was Chris our Electrician to ensure power and lighting sources were in the right position for reconnection.
At the beginning of the third week the refurbished back bar base was installed as was the new bar front, bar top and new racking underway on new backboards to secure to. All was shaping up surprisingly well!!! By the end of the third week the bar end and flap was made, the resized and remodeled door in position and the optic rails installed. The bar room itself was also taking shape with all walls painted, and the grey dado rails, skirting and radiator fronts well in hand. Our team had the Friday off to allow our dedicated painting team a day free of noise, dust, and general banter which I am sure was very much appreciated………….
During the final week, the glue and mastic gun were working overtime, nails and screws were being fired in left right and centre and anything that stood still too long was painted. Electric second fix was underway and the new light features added to make, as per brief, everything lighter and brighter. The new optics were fitted to the rails and bar staff Jean, Eddy and Dave started on moving back the chiller units, filling the optics and dusting everything else ready to go back in place. By Thursday evening all that had to be done was to clear away all tools, timber off cuts and painting equipment ready for the floor to be professionally cleaned on Friday.
A great team effort from everyone that took part. I am sure we are all proud of what has been achieved and hope that customers and staff alike enjoy for many years.
Neil Reader – Maintenance Manager – February 2020