Project information

Watford Palace Theatre: A new versatile auditorium

WPT is preparing to transform the stalls of its auditorium to improve and increase its versatility. This project will mean that the auditorium will be free of conventional constraints and be more able to accommodate the wide variety of projects that will utilise the space.

June 2012 - September 2012

Charity information: Palace Theatre Watford Ltd

Palace Theatre Watford Ltd logo
  • Need


    WPT is a 21st century producing theatre - open to ideas, collaborative in approach, imaginative in its use of resources. In its current format of fixed seating, the auditorium is unable to offer the scope of flexibility demanded by innovative productions, the screening of films and corporate uses. Removal of the current seating if required, is a highly time consuming and non cost effective process. Additionally the Theatre does not have on site storage facilities for temporarily removed seats.


    Replacing the stalls seating with easy to remove seats will mean that the use of the auditorium is no longer limited just to the stage. This will open up almost endless opportunities for productions, film and corporates and allow WPT to truly reflect its aims of 21st century imaginative uses for theatre space. Furthermore this project enables WPT to build on its previous success in fundraising for capital projects with its supporters.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Replace the stalls auditorium seats at WPT in 2012 with more versatile seating


    » By building on the momentum created by a successful BAG fundraising campaign in 2010 to raise core funding for this project via The Big Give in 2011
    » The Big Give (TBG) will facilitate the continued fundraising support of local businesses and elicit commitments to donate from new ones.
    » TBG will provide opportunities to re-engage with previous donors, engage new donors and encourage increased funding support.

    Success will be the completion of a fundraising campaign raising the maximum amounts from the widest possible target fundraising audience and engage both established and new donors

  • Impact


    In the long term WPT will be able to plan programmes, projects and events in ergonomically appropriate seating without the constraints and restrictions of the current rigid fixed seating. This helps WPT to maintain its position as a flagship arts organisation in the region combining high quality arts with forward thinking ideas and utilising the maximum use of technology, particularly digital. This in turn will develop audiences and create opportunities to increase revenue from auditorium use


    There is a risk that there will be more demand for the new space than we originally anticipate. To mitigate this risk, WPT have recently created a Programming and Projects Manager position to source artistic content, manage demand and ensure that availability matches demand.


    Donors will receive regular email/text/social media/website updates/phone calls about the project including progress reports and photographs. Donors will be invited to a production that celebrates the more versatile use of the auditorium. Local media coverage will also be used.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £98,100

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £98,100 Seat replacement 327 seats @ £300 per seat
  • Background


    Watford’s population is over 80,000, of whom around 20% are from minority ethnic backgrounds. Hertfordshire’s population is 1,095,500. The town is in Arts Council England’s East region. Built in 1908, this 600 seat former Edwardian music hall and Grade II listed building is home to WPT. WPT is one of 3 producing theatres in the region and receives revenue funding from ACE East and Watford Borough Council.The recent outdoor festival Imagine Watford supported by WPT reached 25k people in 2 weeks.


    WPT reaches 180,000 people p.a. generating a spend of £1.2m+ in the local economy. Engaging with and building the foundations of long term relationships, impacts far wider than direct financial contributions alone. Increased revenue will facilitate WPT fulfilling its commitments toward producing, presenting, participating and partnering. WPT’s work contributes to the identity of Watford and Hertfordshire, enriches people’s lives, increases pride in the town and raises the profile of the area.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Planning, managing and co-ordinating this project in house, ensures that we maximise the potential scope to design the auditorium to meet our specific requirements. We will utilise the donor data and contacts for future fundraising activities and projects. Furthermore the involvement of the whole organisation in this project will facilitate capacity building within WPT in areas such as audience development and participation as well as all aspects of fundraising

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Steve Burke

    WPT's Buildings Manager has recently overseen the restoration of the facade, renovation of the Cafe, installation of digital film screening equipment.

    Stephanie Hay

    The Programme and Projects Manager is responsible for all the artistic programming and events for WPT both within theTheatre and in spaces outside

    The Trustees/Board Of WPT/WPT Staff

    The trustees will make appropriate personal financial commitments to this project and alongside the WPT staff will play a pivotal role in its success.

    Lynne Misner

    The Theatre's Development Management will oversee the Capital Campaign. Recent succeses include Capital fundraising for the Theatre's Facade.