- £320,000 needed
1924, when the Barn Theatre first opened to the public, the toilet facilities
at the front of house have remained unaltered except for a minor reconfiguration
and replacement fittings and decorations some 28 years ago and are small
and cramped and generally unsatisfactory, particularly when we have
a large show audience, which is very frequently these days.
after almost 96 years, the Trustees were planning to address this issue
in 2021 and upgrade the facilities. However, during the last year or
so, the Trustees have moved further on and the proposal is now to redesign
the whole entrance and front of house area to include extending out
towards Bluehouse Lane to make room for newly built toilets which will
double the present capacity, create a new wheelchair friendly toilet
and extend the bar store to house a greater capacity of stock. The immediate
entrance lobby will have an open ceiling, lit by a feature window in
the apex of the new roof and provide more room for audience to wait
for friends etc. The aim is to complete all the works in time for our
Centenary in May 2024, hence the project title.
total cost of these alterations and additions is estimated at close
to £325,000 which is a far great amount than we thought when discussing
simply upgrading the toilets. It is proposed that the works are staged
as we did so successfully for the Barn 2000 extension and the DRIP Project.
Phase One would be to get the new toilet blocks in position and weathertight,
Phase Two would see these toilets fitted out and brought into action
and Phase Three would be the final alterations to the existing toilets
and bar store and redecoration and replanning of the counters to the
hope to start construction as soon as we can but this will be dependent
on whether we have raised sufficient monies to complete Phase One by
that time. Fundraising will be ongoing from now and throughout the works
and we would ask for your support in helping to ensure that this project
is able to proceed in a timely manner
you can help in any way please contact
Oxted and Limpsfield Barn Theatre Ltd, 15a High Street, Westerham, Kent.
Telephone 01959 561811 or Barntheatre@btinternet.com
(Dressing Room Improvement Project) - £272,052
Since 1924, when
the Barn first opened to the public, the toilet facilities at the back,
in the dressing room areas, have remained unaltered except for new fittings
and decorations. No segregation, only two WC's and those accessed directly
from the dressing rooms, a generally unsatisfactory situation particularly
when we have a large show cast. So, after almost 90 years the trustees
are planning to address this issue and provide newly built facilities
adjacent to the stage door. However during the last year or so the sub
committee appointed by the trustees has moved further on and the proposal
is now to redesign the whole backstage area to make each dressing room
independent with a through passage to the stage wings either side.
The total cost of
these alterations and additions is estimated at close to £250,000 which
is a far greater amount than we thought when discussing simply adding
a new toilet block. It is proposed that the works are staged as we did
so successfully for the Barn 2000 extension. Phase One would be to get
the new toilet block in position, Phase Two would see those toilets
fitted out and brought into action and Phase Three would be the final
alterations to the existing dressing rooms and provision of air conditioning
to those new areas we will have created. We would hope to start construction
during the Summer of 2015 but this will be dependent on whether we have
raised sufficient monies to complete phase one by that time. Fundraising
will be ongoing from now and throughout the works and I would ask for
your support in helping to ensure that this project is able to proceed
in a timely manner. Final plans approved by the Barn are with Tandridge
District Council for grant of planning consent at the time of going
to press and hopefully, by the Parade performances that consent will
have been obtained.
June 2011 - DRIP launched
at theatre AGM
May 2013 - Final plans approved by Trustees
August 2013 - The Barnstormers, supported by the Trustees, take Parade
(which wins the prestigious Minack Award) to the Minack
December 2013 - DRIP fund, which already stood at just over £18,000,
boosted by £18,603
at Sunday Club made up by:
Elvis and Starmakerz £2,011
Kenley Holiday Workshop £350
Let Us Entertain You £6,067
Musical Memories £2,325
(with £2,325 going to Help for Heroes)
Oxted Operatic Society £500
Oxted Pram Race £350
2014 - DRIP fund boosted by £5,000 from The Oxted Players
November 2014 - DRIP fund stands at almost £80,000 which includes
£2,600 from bucket collections
February 2014 - DRIP on target for Phase One to start in September 2015.
Bucket collections now stand at £4,688
February 2015 - FOBs donate £10,000
to DRIP fund at their AGM
- DRIP Phase One (building of new toilet block) goes out to tender.
Trident Building Consultancy Ltd have been appointed as Project Managers
November 2015 - Prices due in on November 6th
February 2016 - SM Atkins of Godstone appointed as builders with works
planned to start in April
August 2016 - Phase One completed on budget and on schedule. Phase Two
(fitting out and commissioning of toilet block) started
November 2016 - Walls
plastered, entrance lobby and corridor decorated and lighting functioning
February 2017 - FOBs donate £8,500
to DRIP fund at their AGM
July 2017 - DRIP fund boosted by £5,000 from The Oxted Players
Sunday 1st October 2017 - June Brown, recently retired Theatre Trustee
and President of The Oxted Players opened the new toilet block with
the 'First Flush'
November 2017 - £404 collected in the buckets at a single performance
of A-Z of Musical Theatre
December 2017 - £850 collected in the buckets over two performances
(matinee £340, evening £510) of Holly Jolly Barn Christmas
January 2018 - Phase Three (final alterations, refit of kitchen and
air-conditioning) commences due to a cancellation in the theatre's busy
November 2018 - DRIP, providing the theatre with four spacious and independent
air-conditioned dressing rooms, new toilets, a new kitchen and other
facilities completed. Bucket collections contributed £35,500
- £88,000 raised
For a number of
years now the theatre has been very busy through the summer months,
something you will be surprised to hear is a fairly recent phenomenon.
In years past the theatre was closed all summer as there was no call
for space and instead the time was used for completion of maintenance
work, at a leisurely pace!
of Barn 2000 the trustees have been considering the next major project
for the theatre and with the continuing popularity of the summer youth
productions and outstanding summer weather of recent years, air conditioning
has been high on the list of priorities.
Finally the decision
has been taken to formally announce that “air conditioning to the
auditorium“ will be the next major project to be undertaken.
The trustees will
be consulting with specialist engineers to ascertain the most cost effective
means of providing a system that can be installed into the auditorium
without destroying the aesthetics, which we all value so very much.
Whilst we have some
reserves of cash we will need to start fundraising if we are to achieve
our aim in a reasonable time and we should like to think that a system
could be up and running for summer 2008. The events here at the theatre
later this year, ‘This is My Song’, ‘ABBA UK’ and ‘Christmas Cracker’
will all be dedicated to this appeal to be known as ‘BarnCool’ and hopefully
with the support of all our users we will soon be able to firm up our
From the information
we already have we are expecting to need to raise an additional £50,000
minimum but after Barn 2000 that’s chicken feed!!!!!!
Fundraising Begins with Kenley Holiday Workshop
Such is the enthusiasm
for our 'BarnCool' project that no sooner than it had been announced
Sally Dallosso from Kenley Holiday workshop was on the phone offering
to hold a special raffle and to restart the infamous bucket collections
that did so well for Barn 2000. As a result of Sally's enthusiasm £518.20
was raised during KHW's production of Seussical the Musical which was
a fantastic start to our fundraising programme.
Whilst the design
and budget for the new installation are still being finalised we are
pleased to hear that the Oxted Players also dusted off the buckets for
their production of Party Piece and hopefully the trend will continue
with shows during the foreseeable future. We do hope you will feel able
to support us again with contributions to the buckets which raised over
£27,000 for Barn 2000.
Continues to Grow
Earlier this week
Bruce was delighted to receive, with grateful thanks, a cheque from
Chris Bassett, Chairman of Oxted Operatic for £1000 towards the BarnCool
This donation was a result of auction of promises held on the occasion
of the societies 60th birthday and profit on a very enjoyable and successful
quiz night held in the Barn recently. The fund continues to grow and
we are waiting to see what this weekend (just gone now!) brings, as
we are promised a cheque from Barnstormers following their tour to the
Minack Theatre in Cornwall earlier in the Summer with that tremendous
show, Scarlet Pimpernel. I believe the amount of the cheque is announced
elsewhere in this paper but the total was a well guarded secret until
day of publication. Nevertheless a big thank you to Richard and the
Barnstormers for a great show both here at Oxted and in Cornwall
Achieved in Less than 18 Months
Less than 18 months
after launching the appeal for funds to install air conditioning to
the main theatre auditorium we are delighted to announce that the appeal
target has been reached and the generosity of our supporters and patrons
means that we have an additional amount that will allow for us to incorporate
other small additions to the proposals.
Apart from those
little red buckets, which, once again have excelled and raised the amazing
amount of £8000 the FOBs, have given donations totalling £10,000 and
there have been other substantial personal donations which have ensured
the success of this project.
been appointed and the theatre will officially close from 1st June through
to the 6th July for the works to be completed. This is a very tight
programme for the installation but we are confident that the system
will be in operation for the charity concert, Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance
3 which opens on the 10th July.
The works will be
concentrated in the loft area over the auditorium and when the ceiling
is opened for the air distribution grilles to put in place there will
be much dust, that horrible dust only found in old lofts and which penetrates
everywhere. We already have seat covers but do not want these to be
ruined so if you have any old cotton bed sheets or clean dustsheets
which you are able to donate please do bring them down to theatre next
time you come and they will be used over our existing covers. We need
them for early on Sunday 1st June please.
Apart from protecting
the seats, all the stage lights have to be removed from the stage and
auditorium, stage curtains and fittings are to be taken down and the
building generally left suitable for the works to proceed from the following
day when contractors arrive on site.
Following the major
part of the works and prior to final commissioning the auditorium has
to be thoroughly cleaned, redressed with lights and curtains etc ready
for the reopening
After 2 years of
planning and 18 months of fundraising, Sunday June 1st was the day the
theatre closed for a month and preparations started for the arrival
of the builders and engineers during the following week. Apart from
installing air conditioning to the foyer and auditorium, we were scheduled
to complete many other works of improvement and maintenance whilst we
had the opportunity of an empty theatre, so there was much to do. The
trustees with others set to and by the time Sunday Club that day started,
the theatre was ready for works to commence.
On Monday 2nd June
I was at the theatre to open up and get the kettle on at 7 a.m. ready
to welcome the various and diverse teams of subcontractors due during
that morning. Frank Boonham followed me in, as he too had specialist
theatre electrical engineers coming to complete various works and alterations.
By 9 a.m. the builders were starting work in the foyer and clearing
the loft of years of dust and rubbish, scaffolders were busily erecting
the main access scaffold to the rear gable, air-conditioning engineers
were modifying the existing equipment in the bar area and the stage
electricians were busy cleaning and PAT testing all our stage lights
that had been removed on the previous Sunday morning. The noisy fan
heaters in the auditorium were being removed for the replacement high
efficiency radiators and Lofty our electrician was preparing for the
hundreds of meters of cabling that needed to be installed for the new
AC units in the loft and at the rear of the kitchen externally. All
this, whilst we were also trying to redirect the nursery school mothers
who couldn't park as normal due to lorries on site and Oxted School
parents who still considered it a right to use our car park for dropping
off their children!
By the end of the
first day we were flying - everything was falling into place and any
initial problems or queries were resolved immediately. The contractors
had all been appointed as known entities and many had worked closely
together on other projects for me so I knew the team and was delighted
we were together again.
Tuesday was another
good day and by the end of that first week both Frank and I were amazed
at the progress that had been made by all the team. There was no stopping
us now, the back was broken and we knew even at this early stage that
we would have no problems with getting the theatre open again for business
by the date we had forecast.
The end result was
that we commissioned the new air conditioning four days earlier than
planned and after a hectic few days and a weekend cleaning, dusting
and reassembling, left the theatre ready for business as from 30th June
as promised. At The Oxted Players AGM on the following Wednesday, I
suspect people were wondering what we had been up to for the last month!
My personal thanks
to Frank Boonham, who, whilst convinced that I am crazy at times, always
give his full support and professional input to all our theatre projects.
To the trustees and FOBs for their help and support and to those others
who turned up to help with stripping and reassembling the theatre before
and after the works. I must also congratulate and thank all the contractors,
who without exception, worked extremely hard to provide a discreet and
successful installation that I hope will serve our patrons well.
None of this would
have been possible without your help fundraising, so a big thank you
to you all too.
2000 - £250,000 raised
was raised to improve the theatre by:
Providing covered access to the gallery
Disabled toilet facilities
A Green Room with more bar space!
A new dressing/band room
see a slideshow of the works.
is how the theatre used to look
This is what it looks like now work has commenced
known as Barn 2000, A Vision for the Millennium,
is the largest project undertaken by the trustees of the charity since
the theatre opened in 1924.
An ambitious scheme
of radical improvements, the main object of the proposals is to extend
the theatre on the West side to provide a large new green room and bar
together with an internal staircase to the gallery. Additionally the
theatre will also be providing toilet facilities for the disabled adjacent
to the foyer, creating extra full height wing space on stage with an
external loading facility and a further dressing room. Wheelchair access
to the stage from the dressing rooms has been incorporated in the new
plans and modifications within the ground floor of the auditorium are
also planned. These further improvements will sustain the policy of
equal opportunities for patrons, actors, musicians, technicians and
indeed all that choose to cross the threshold of this very special venue.
To supplement continuing
fund raising and increase the profile of the theatre, all the residents
of Oxted and Limpsfield have received an appeal brochure setting out
details of the proposals. The response to date has been overwhelming
and the current total of partnership funding from this and other fund
raising activities is now over £196,000 and rising steadily. A magnificent
sum that would not have been achievable without the support of all our
friends and supporters.
The works started
on the 14th May 2001, almost 78 years to the day after those to the
original building commenced and the archaeological exploration that
continued whilst the digger was on site found nothing of particular
interest except a broken plate. Excitement built as the archaeologist
proclaimed she could date this fragment accurately. On the back of the
plate were the date of 1944, the initials GR and the Royal Crest! Obviously
a remnant from when the theatre was used as army billets during the
war. Otherwise nothing of significance was found.
After a very busy
summer last year the works on Phase One, the construction of the weatherproof
external shell are complete and a very successful opening was held in
December 2002 attended by many friends and patrons of the theatre. Fundraising
for Phase Two, a minimum of £80,000, is still continuing and before
the fitting out and furnishing works to the interior can be completed
we need to raise another £30,000. However the works have started and
a glance through the door to the gallery stairs will reveal our progress
so far in the Green Room. I am sure you will be impressed. Apart from
this the new dressing room backstage is in full use as are the enlarged
wings and scenery dock on stage. The preparation works to join the Green
Room to the auditorium are well advanced as can be seen from the new
brickwork clearly visible in the auditorium.
If you are interested
in having a tour of all we have achieved since last December do make
a note in your diary to come along to our Christmas Drinks and Nibbles
on Sunday 7th December. All are welcome and this is an opportunity to
look around in a relaxed fashion whilst meeting old and new friends
who love this theatre too.
We are looking to
very exciting times at the Barn during the new millennium and if you
wish to be part of this by making a contribution to the appeal fund
or in any other way please telephone or write to Bruce Reed. Any contribution
large or small helps our vision become reality.
Please don’t forget
that support for the shows at the Barn is another direct way of contributing
to the appeal fund whilst enjoying yourself too and details of forthcoming
productions are to be found in the calendar.
Ronnie Corbett, Dame
Judi Dench, Richard Stilgoe and Peter
Ainsworth MP are patrons of the appeal and Tandridge Council have
committed £10,000 to the scheme; a good indication of the support
for this delightful theatre and these exciting proposals.
FOR A TAX EFFICIENT
GIFT AID FORM PLEASE CLICK HERE OR IF YOU
CAN HELP IN ANY WAY PLEASE CONTACT
Oxted and Limpsfield Barn Theatre Ltd, 15a High Street, Westerham, Kent.
Telephone 01959 561811 or Barntheatre@btinternet.com
interior of the extension at Christmas 2002
Ramage painting the mural in the new extension in 2003
The new bar almost
completed, May 2003