Tewkesbury's The Roses Theatre has a brand-new look — and a brand-new bar — after spending £340,000 to refurbish its facilities and improve accessibility.
The beloved theatre was deeply impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and received a grant from the Government Culture Recovery Fund to help it bounce back. The funding was earmarked specifically for improving its hospitality offering and public areas.
The Roses now has a brand-new downstairs bar, as well as a new layout, which aims to reduce queueing for refreshments, improve the flow through the theatre and combat space issues on busy show nights, providing a 'more seamless and enjoyable experience' for guests.
The downstairs bar has significantly sped up service times for refreshments, offering hot, cold and alcoholic drinks, as well as snacks, sweets and ice creams, while the new kitchen at the upstairs Eric's Bar allows the theatre to provide a wider range of food, including stone baked pizzas, to enjoy pre-show. Theatregoers can also pre-order their interval drinks from Eric's Bar.
This refurbishment builds on The Roses Theatre's recent work to improve accessibility backstage through its Buck Up Backstage project, which was launched in December 2022 and raised nearly £10,000 through crowdfunding alone, with the overall aim of improving the customer experience and making the venue more accessible to everyone.
Theatre director, Jessica Brewster, said: 'The refurb is having a huge impact on the theatre – it’s made our downstairs space much more accessible, created a much better experience for our audiences with an exciting new food offer, and has already increased our income.
'This will enable us to do even more for our local community, expanding Roses Young Creatives and our schools projects.'
The Roses Theatre operates as an arts charity with the majority of the revenue from ticket sales being reinvested into artists and shows, so it relies on income from hospitality, donations, memberships and business patron schemes to enable it to deliver its important community work, from community choirs and knitting groups to it's flagship Roses Young Creatives programme.
Roses Young Creatives provides weekly sessions on everything from drama, dance and singing to directing, producing, costume and set design, lighting and even sound engineering, to help talented young creatives build their confidence and develop the transferable skills they need to succeed in the industry — with opportunities to show off their abilities on stage by performing in shows at The Roses and out in the community.
It hopes that increased revenue from the new hospitality offering will go a long way towards helping to bridge the gap between ticket sales and running costs, allowing it create even more opportunities for local people to get involved with the theatre.
To find out more, visit rosestheatre.org/get-involved.