Fire Brigade

1987 October 29
Extract from Minute of Council
44/87 New Dressing Rooms & Four Year Plan

In presenting the Four Year Plan now approved in principle by the Executive Committee, Barrie Bowen reviewed the History and growth of the Association and the various stages, alterations and additions which have been made to the Centre. In some respects the Barn Hall or Theatre had, after 40 years and several additions reached a stage where the comfort of users required re-appraisal. The more leisurely application of the Long Term Plan had been interrupted by the notice from the Fire Brigade that the present means of escape from the Dressing Rooms was not acceptable.

This had prompted the Executive Committee to consider the whole of the Barn Hall facilities. They elected a small working party to consider the solving of the dressing room accommodation and the manner in which the solution could be related to other long envisaged improvements to Barn Hall Stage and other problems such as alternative storage.

A further decision was made to elect a small working party to study ways and means of fund raising to meet the proposed development.

Although the proposal centre on the Barn Hall and Stage and consequently its use as a theatre, the plan has been ever mindful of its focal point the need to ensure the final result represents a development that provides improved comfort and facilities to all users.

Phase One : involves the relocation of some of the adjacent and Craft Room stores and converting the roof space above into a two level set of dressing rooms, with the toilet accommodation in the present workshop. It is envisaged that these rooms can be made multi-purpose.

Phase Two : is currently envisaged as the reconstruction of stage area to about double its present size, thus doing away with the present practice of enlarging the forestage.

The present under the stage area could be developed a a chair store and the occasional orchestra pit.

Phase Three : which perhaps could be interchanged with Phase Two concerns the provision of raked seating and its storage. This would greatly improve the comfort and vision of the southern half of the Barn Hall for stage presentations.

This is the scheme in principle but there are, of course, many complex and technical matters still to be discussed. Preliminary discussions taken place with the Fire Protection Officer but no approach has been made to our landlords or the Planning Authority.

The costs have been estimated at present day prices as :

£35,000 for Phase 1
£60,000 for Phase 2
£11,000 for Phase 3
£10,000 for miscellaneous fittings

£116,000 Plus Fees and VAT say £150,000


Having completed the Dressing Rooms there is then a void between them and stage represented by the old dressing rooms.

To avoid the building of a fore-stage for every show it is proposed to compensate these areas and the orchestra area by taking the present dressing rooms into the stage and at the same time widen the east side to similar dimensions as the west side.

None of this work will alter the present Barn Hall but during the alterations it will not be possible to hold meetings in the Barn at lest during the day and certainly no stage productions.