Hertford Theatre - FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the redevelopment of Hertford Theatre

When will the new theatre be open?

We are working towards opening the new theatre in late 2023. 

Will Hertford Theatre still have a presence in the town when it is closed?

Hertford Theatre will still have a presence during the closure - you can keep up to date and find out what is happening on the Hertford Theatre website

How can I learn more about the Growth and Legacy project?

All of the details and ability to feedback can be found on the Hertford Theatre website, where you can also sign up for regular updates. 

What are the benefits of improving the theatre?

There are a number of benefits that the proposals will bring to the theatre and community. These include:

  • A new cinema that shows first-release films, removing the need to travel to Harlow or Hatfield and diversifying Hertford’s economy.
  • Improving the technical specification of the auditorium will allow bigger and better performances, and for productions to stay for a longer period of time.
  • Allowing more independent productions and a programme of self / community curated productions.
  • Allowing multiple uses to take place at the same time.
  • Providing more space for the community to use throughout the day and evening.
  • Improving the visitor experience.
  • Allowing the theatre to become financially self-sufficient in the long-term.
  • Opening up more of the River Lea to the public.
  • Improving understanding of the Mott and local heritage assets.

What facilities will be provided for disabled customers in the new building?

Making Hertford Theatre accessible for all is key to the development of the new building. We are working closely with the design team to improve accessibility across the board and provide new accessible facilities for our customers, performers and staff. These will include new Auditorium and Studio Theatre layouts, new front-of-house toilets, an accessible baby change room, and a Changing Places toilet. Two new passenger lifts that can be used as part of the evacuation strategy will be provided.

Improvements to performer facilities include step-free access to the Auditorium and Studio Theatre stages, new wheelchair-accessible performer toilet and shower facilities and stage-level accessible dressing rooms.  We have an access consultant David Bonnett Associates as part of our team.

How will Hertford Theatre be ‘sustainable’?

Hertford Theatre aims to be a beacon of sustainability for the County and for theatres. The project is aiming to achieve an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM accreditation which is an internationally recognised award for sustainability.

What does BREEAM mean?

BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for buildings, and is set by the Building Research Establishment who are an independent certification body. This means BREEAM rated developments are more sustainable environments that enhance the well-being of the people who work in them and the people who use them. They help protect natural resources, promote energy efficiency and support the net zero carbon agenda

Will the size of the stage in the main auditorium increase?

Overall the stage house is being remodelled to improve its efficiency, but we are not proposing the stage will increase in size 

What will the impact of the changes be on acoustics in the auditorium / will you be improving acoustics in the auditorium?

As part of the proposals the auditorium will go through a significant transformation. We are working with an acoustician as part of our consultant team to provide a high level of experience for performers and visitors. The theatre currently delivers a diverse programme of events that have different acoustic requirements. The proposals would seek to accommodate as many of these different needs as possible. 

What space will be available for the community?

We will be providing two separate spaces for community use and hire as well as the new studio theatre. The development of the main auditorium and studio also mean that we will be able to deliver these community spaces offline, unaffected by the internal programme, meaning that hirers will be able to use these spaces, uninterrupted throughout the year.

How much will the new theatre cost?

Funding of £24m has been agreed to cover the cost of the new theatre.  One of the key aims of the project is to ensure that, in the long-term, the theatre becomes economically self-sufficient.

How is the new theatre being paid for?

The theatre is being funded by a Government loan which will be repaid in full over a 30-year period.

How does the new theatre represent value for money?

Considerable work has been done to understand the demand for the new and improved services that the new theatre will provide. This work demonstrates that there will be a good return on investment and that the theatre will be able to move from the current position, of receiving a subsidy from the Council, to one of producing a surplus, becoming a self-sustaining operation and providing a legacy income for the Council. We also expect the new offer to contribute positively to both the day and night time wider economy in Hertford. 

Will prices go up when the new theatre opens?

Some prices will increase to reflect the new and improved offer – though we will always make sure the price increases are as low as possible and always in line with other market offers. Because we will be able to offer dynamic pricing, some prices will also go down, for example, for certain performances at certain times of day. We want to ensure that Hertford Theatre remains competitive and financially accessible for all members of the community.

Is the business case robust?

The business case has been developed independently by expert business planners working closely with independent cost consultants to produce a robust and prudent business case that allows room for flex and we are confident in our ability to deliver it.

Does the money being invested in Hertford Theatre mean that the council won’t be able to invest in other projects across the District?

No. The money being invested in Hertford Theatre is based on the business case for the project and is being funded, in full, by a public works loan that will be repaid in full over a 30-year period. This funding does not impact upon the councils ability to fund any other projects across the District. Funding for projects is assessed on a case by case basis according to each individual projects business case.