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Reviving Broadway: Collaborations and 'something different' for theatre

There are big plans for the future of New Theatre in Peterborough as part of the city's ongoing regeneration projects - and its reopening on August 17 is just the first step in the right direction.
New Theatre
Reviving Broadway: Collaborations and 'something different' for theatre (Photo: John Baker)

The New Theatre has been forced to close its doors for most of the last 14 months, but instead of opening on Monday, May 17, bosses have chosen to wait until August 17 where they can give audiences the full experience. 

It comes after the arts council awarded them £250,000 to support the theatre after they were unable to apply for the Cultural Recovery Fund based on a slight change in eligibility. 

Now that they are preparing for their next and busiest season, David Hutchinson of Selladoor spoke with Peterborough Matters about their plans for the theatre going forward, which have been supported by MP Paul Bristow. 

David said: "I'm so excited to have people back in this building and get back to the arts, but alongside that, we will be supporting the businesses which are based around us; lots of these places rely on people coming into the theatre at around 7pm-8pm to help build the local economy.

"My aim is to work with all the businesses locally and work in a collaborative way. I'd like to put together forums with different businesses to talk about strategy, I think Peterborough is a really fast moving city." 

Mr Bristow said: "David mentioned this to me earlier and I thought it was great, the idea to get all the lamp posts outside Broadway to have banners both celebrating the theatre, street and local businesses. It would be amazing.

"Broadway hasn't taken on cafe culture the same way as Cathedral Square and St John's Square, but I'm determined to bring this part of Peterborough back in use - this can't be our legacy, this has to be front and centre. 

"If this area became popular with diners and became part of the night time economy then behaviour around this area would change. I'm determined to go kicking and screaming to get people more positive about Peterborough city centre. 

"We don't need to bring it back from the past, we need to do something different." 

David added: "I question why some people who live here don't realise what an amazing city it is, it's a really diverse community. I think coronavirus has forced us to look at our data and question what parts of our population are not coming to the theatre.

"Now we can look at how to get people in and make sure that they feel this building is for them, so we're excited about bringing in new audiences." 

New Theatre is busy with preparations in the lead up to its reopening, but those behind it they're busying themselves with rebuilding their team after losing staff throughout coronavirus. 

They will be reopening with a drama season towards the end of summer and Bring It On The Musical will be kicking off their tour in the theatre in November before the start of their pantomime, Aladdin, on December 11. 

For more information on what's on, click here.