Bournemouth Theatre: Access All Areas

After a short period of no shows but a lot of work, Shelley Theatre throws open its doors once again for an 'Access All Areas' evening.

Bournemouth theatre-goers will be in for a big surprise when they visit Shelley Theatre today (28th March) for an event which the theatre has named 'Access All Areas' because it will be precisely that - an unique opportunity not only to explore Sir Percy Florence Shelley's private theatre but also to see excerpts from some of the shows which will be playing at the theatre throughout 2014.

The theatre, which for several years has resembled a building site, has undergone a major transformation.

It can now boast not just one auditorium - Sir Percy Florence Shelley's private theatre at the heart of the new complex - but three additional performance spaces: a Pavilion Studio and Loft space at the top of the building with commanding views over Shelley Park and, at ground level, a very large area, due to become a restaurant in the near future which is an ideal performance space for dance, concerts, cabaret, theatre in the round, conferences and exhibitions.

The transformation, while not yet complete, is stunning and patrons who visit Shelley Theatre regularly over the next few months will witness each time they cross the elegant new Courtyard and enter the building via the splendid new oak entrance doors on-going developments in all parts of the building.

Friday evening's programme will include excerpts from the theatre's most ambitious programme of shows ever: plays (Coward to Shakespeare to John Foster), concerts (Indie to folk to classical quartet to gospel choir to west end musical), variety (olde tyme to boulevard chanson), workshops (for kids, teens and adults) and talks (Nell Leyshon to Andy Williamson).

Those in need of respite on the night will be relieved to know that Shelley Theatre's new, sophisticated - and well stocked - Library Bar will be open all evening.

The owners and volunteer staff hope that their efforts over the past few months will delight patrons - former and new, young and old - so much that they will want to return to Shelley Theatre again and again and make it their own.

Jonathan Rogers, who came on board as Director of Operations at the beginning of December last year. said: "Our aim is that Shelley Theatre becomes your Shelley Theatre - a lively community, a centre for all that is best in live and recorded performance arts as well as a favourite venue for tea, coffee and great food, be it a quick snack or a leisurely meal.

"It has been an incredible adventure so far but, in the words of Al Jonson, 'You ain't seen nothin' yet!'"

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