Northampton theatre purchases building, gains wedding licences and creates coffee shop ahead of lockdown easing
Bosses are hoping to firmly secure the theatre as a ‘community venue’
A Northampton theatre is geared up and ready to reopen next week with new ventures in tow after a productive lockdown.
The Deco, in Abington Square, purchased the building from Jesus Army back in February this year.
Bosses also applied for - and were granted - a wedding licence for the venue during lockdown to showcase the art deco within the building.
As indoor venues, such as theatres are allowed to reopen next week, the first wedding - with up to 30 guests - will take place on the very first day of reopening (May 17).
Kevin Roach chief executive of The Deco, said: “The weddings are something that we have had loads of enquiries about.
“We have a beautiful foyer with the old art deco and, when we have weddings, there will be flowers on the rails.
“We wanted to showcase it as people often come in and say they didn’t realise how beautiful it is inside.”
As well as gaining the wedding licence, The Deco has also introduced a coffee shop to the theatre’s foyer, which will be open to the public.
The coffee shop will be open Monday to Friday for hot drinks, sandwiches and cakes for eat in or takeaway.
There is also a seating area in the foyer, which is all part of the theatre’s plan to be a hub for the community.
Kevin added: “Now that we have purchased the building hopefully we can move forward.
“We always set out to be a community venue where we get local people coming through the doors."
As well as all the additional aspects, bosses are, of course, excited to welcome back shows and audiences.
The first show - The Northampton Festival of Performing Arts - will take place on May 22 and 23, followed by children’s show - The Twirlywoos - on May 28 and 29.
Wrestling and a bodybuilding competition follow and there is also a full programme booked at the theatre until the end of 2022.
All shows up until September this year will have a socially distanced audience and a reduced capacity of around 350 - a move that Kevin says will hopefully mean shows will be able to continue if the next step of the roadmap in June is not reached.
“Even for the panto, which is selling really well, we will have socially distanced areas so people can choose if they don’t want to sit near people,” Kevin continued.
"It's about building that confidence back up.
“As we were able to open last year, we already have all the one-way systems and hand sanitisers in place, as well temperature checks and ordering drinks from an app.
“It worked really well and we already have it in place whereas other venues that didn’t open now have that challenge ahead of them.”
To find out more about shows at The Deco and to buy tickets, visit the theatre’s website.