Volunteers refresh Royal Exchange club

A group of property firms has donated time and materials to Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre to revamp the members' suite.

The space includes the original wood panelled boardroom of the building. The Theatre hopes the refreshed look will help attract more corporate sponsors. Membership costs £1,500 a year.

Royal Exchange members suiteRuth Paterson, development manager, said: "The suite is well used and much loved but we had had some feedback that it felt a bit dark and dated. The problem was that we had absolutely no budget to carry out an update.

"Then 5plus Architects, who were already working with us, offered to oversee the work on a pro-bono basis and they used their contacts to make it happen. The work has helped make the suite more connected with the actual theatre and it feels much more modern without losing the history."

Shaw Contract Group donated new flooring, Litecraft provided new lighting and Farrow & Ball helped with the paint.

Paterson said: "We also knew there was an original fireplace on the ground floor which had been boarded up and working with 5plus gave us the confidence to open it up. The project has shown great co-operation between businesses all working together to give something back to one of the city's cultural centres.

"Individual and corporate sponsorship is crucial to our continued work and we hope having access to this new space, either during a performance or for entertaining will be an added incentive to get involved.

"The ground floor of the suite also now features 22 original posters from past productions that have been curated by joint artistic director Greg Hersov.

"They complement the wider public display on show in the mezzanine gallery where the earliest poster is The Lady From The Sea in which Vanessa Redgrave starred in 1978."

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