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Winter Gardens Restoration Levy funds £45k of seating works for Opera House Theatre

The Winter Gardens has today begun the removal of the final 654 seats for re-upholstering in its Opera House Theatre as part of its restoration works.

The 654 chairs from the balcony is the final group of seating to be removed, re-upholstered and reinstalled over a 2-week period.

The completion of these works will mean the whole Opera House seating configuration has now been reinstated with the investment of the restoration levy, introduced in July 2021, at a cost of £45,000, raised solely by ticket sales.

The Opera House seats were originally installed in 1939 following the redevelopment of the Opera House that year. Over the years they have seated over 45 million guests including the Her Majesty The Queen.

The levy was introduced to ring fence £1.50 of every ticket sold to directly fund some of the restoration costs of the grade 2 listed building.

Each year the routine maintenance bill is £500,000 and with essential repairs and the impact of COVID that cost has increased dramatically.

Michael Williams, Managing Director of the Winter Gardens said: “The levy has been a game changer for the theatre and is money raised by our theatre lovers that directly improves the theatre and the experience for generations to come.

“We know that tickets are an investment for people and so to capture this work happening is a great way of showing people how the levy is helping.”

The works are expected to take three weeks and then the newly re-upholstered seats will be reinstated for audiences to sink into before the packed main season gets underway.

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