The history of the Broadway Theatre would make a great drama in its own right with highs and lows taking Peterborough audiences through an emotional performance over recent years.
We’ve rooted for it as a venue and those that have tried to save it, booed the baddies and at times demanded our money back – but now the latest act in its story sees a new hero take centre stage and at last we can confidently settle in our seats again.
The highly successful production company Selladoor Worldwide are set to raise the curtain again on the Peterborough New Theatre – a new name for a venue that’s entering a new era.
The ESP team were invited along for a coffee and a chat to meet the guys taking centre stage…
How has this arrangement come about?
“At the same point Selladoor as a company, which for the last 10 years had been producing productions, musicals, family shows, dramas etc all over the UK, had more recently been moving into venues in terms of hospitality and programming. We were looking at opportunities for venues of about 1,000 capacity and met with the Dawe CharitableTrust to see first of all – was this viable for us? Does the theatre fundamentally have an issue engaging with an audience or is it more to do with the previous administration?
“It became more apparent to us that there was a huge love and need for a theatre of this scale in the city to provide theatre, dance, music and comedy and that the opportunity for us to come in as a company, who have a lot of productions ourselves, but also an understanding of how to develop audiences and different market places – the opportunity was there for us to come in and work with the Trust to give this theatre a future.”
Are you entirely responsible for running it?
David Hutchinson – “We’re 100 per cent in charge of operating the building, staffing, box office, hospitality, and programming events.
“We have a relationship with the Trust who are essentially our landlords and have a long term commitment to this building. But when it comes to the operation it’s 100 per cent Selladoor – that’s the only way we understand how to build all the different economies in the daytime and the evening and give the audience an experience where they want to come back.”
What reassurances will you give to customers who’ve been failed in the past?
“We’re bringing a lot of technology into the building that is crucial to a modern theatre. We’re not approaching this as a quick win either – we’re in this for the long haul, we have a lot of work to do and we’re prepared to do it.
“What we’re looking to do is provide confidence to audiences that we’re going to have a good solid programme, that the work that we book and people buy tickets for is happening, and we’ll do that by doing it – people will see that the events are in the diary and stay in the diary and that they’re on the night we said they’re on. That will be the way of improving confidence.”
Will shows by Bill Kenwright Ltd be coming back?
David Hutchinson – “We hope so. We’ve got a good relationship with them and they bring a huge amount of audiences for the musicals they produce which are well loved and have a history of playing.
“Our first priority is to get all the infrastructure in, to get the doors open and make the people of Peterborough aware this building is open for business and that isn’t just about buying tickets to see shows, it’s having a coffee, a glass of wine, a jazz club on Sundays – it’s all the economies – and we’ve got a lot of work to be done before we launch our big season in the autumn just to get all that infrastructure right.
“I think we’re also leading by example – you’ll see in our first season a number of our musicals in the mix which is really exciting. We want to show that we as a production company have confidence in this theatre and with that we believe the trust and confidence of other producers in our sector will come too.
“This has come from a highly developed plan for this building and as Phillip says it’s not an overnight win, it’s something where we’ll have to build the trust of our patrons and of our producing partners – but it starts first of all with quality work put in at an accessible price to bring people back into this building. Everyone we’ve been meeting today has a shared love of this building being what it’s meant to be, a theatre for Peterborough, and a sense of anything else like a blocks of flats – nobody wants that – everyone’s aiming for the same thing.”
Facebook: @PboroNewTheatre, Twitter: @PboroNewTheatre, Instagram: @PboroNewTheatre
What’s on the programme so far…
Tuesday September 24 – Saturday September 28
Tickets: From £19.50
Age Guidance: Ages 14+
Produced by Selladoor Worldwide
Madagascar – The Musical
Wednesday October 2 – Sunday October 6
Tickets: From £19.50
Age Guidance: Ages 3+
Produced by Selladoor Worldwide
Monday November 4 – Saturday November 9
Tickets: From £18.00
Produced by Adam Spiegel Productions
The Wizard of Oz
Saturday December 14 – Tuesday December 31
Tickets: From £12.00
Produced by Prime Pantomimes
Box Office: 01733 852992
Selladoor Worldwide is one of the UK’s leading touring theatre producers and no. 38 in The Stage 100’s 2019 list of most influential people working in the performing arts industry.
The Peterborough New Theatre joins The Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe, and Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple, under the operation of Selladoor Venues, alongside the Pavilion Theatre, Blackpool, in partnership with the Blackpool Entertainment Company.
Selladoor Worldwide began its life as Sell a Door Theatre Company in 2009, developing rapidly under co-founders David Hutchinson (CEO) and Phillip Rowntree (CFO) into an integral player in the UK and Ireland’s regional theatre landscape. The company has since established itself as a leading producer of mid and large-scale touring theatre, with an ever-increasing international presence.
Selladoor Worldwide now have offices in Bangkok, New York and Shanghai in addition to headquarters in London, as they continue to produce and tour theatre worldwide.