CELEBRATIONS are taking place following the completion of a major building project at Barnstaple’s Queen’s Theatre.
The £600,000 scheme has seen the construction of a new mechanised stage extension and the installation of a computer controlled flying system.
The work, which took place over an eight week period, also saw improvements to the building’s structure - including the enlargement of the entryways to the stage.
The upgrades were unveiled at a special launch event on Monday.
Alan Giddings, Chief Executive of the North Devon Theatres, said the improvement work would ensure the venue’s continued success.
He said: “This is another big step forward for the Queen’s Theatre.
“We have got something to be proud of and it’s extremely effective.”
“Previously it took four men all morning to build the stage extension and the same amount of time to take it down again. Now it only takes a couple of minutes.
“The new flying system is also something that we have been wanting to do for some time.
“It’s absolutely terrific.”
Improvement work also took place on the building’s sound and lighting equipment, which has seen many traditional lights replaced with LEDs.
Trust Chairman, Richard Prowse, said he hoped the changes would see significant savings in the long-run.
He said: “What we have done this Summer I think will make a huge difference to the life of this Theatre.
“It will definitely save us a lot of money over the years.”
Funded by the Arts Council England, North Devon Council, Fullabrook CIC and the Foyles Foundation, the project has relied significantly on local constructors.
Richard said: “We are really proud of the fact that we have got local contractors who can do some of the skilled stuff.
“In the 20 years of the trust we have really tried to build the partnerships with local groups.
“I think this place means a lot to North Devon. There’s plenty of people who still have a really sense of ownership of the theatre.”