VOLUNTEERS have been using lockdown to complete the first major renovation works at Guiseley Theatre since the building was converted from the Town Hall in the 1980s.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, theatres across the world have closed their doors and performances have ceased. But at Guiseley Theatre the forced downtime has been taken advantage of by its team of volunteers, who have used the opportunity to embark on improvements to the building.

Over the last three months, Guiseley Theatre has seen its biggest transformation in 40 years. A dedicated team of volunteers have been working hard to restore the building to its Victorian roots and bring new facilities to its users and performers, ready for their return this Autumn.

When Lockdown restrictions were beginning to lift, Guiseley Theatre launched its ‘Paint Pots appeal’, asking members of the community, its users and performers to donate £20 - the price of a pot of paint - to help with the decoration. The social media campaign was met with a fantastic response raising more than £1,000 in just over a week.

Jacob Phillips, Voluntary Director of Guiseley Theatre CIC said “The support we have seen has been fantastic. This lockdown has forced us to put down our scripts and pick up a paint brush, and the community have really got behind us to help cover the costs. Beautiful buildings like these take up a lot of time and money to maintain, every little donation we receive helps make this building the best that it can be.

“Guiseley Theatre have ambitious plans to redevelop the building into a space fit for 21st century use but this lockdown has helped ensure that what we have currently is beautiful, safe and usable to its full potential.”

During the lockdown, The four downstairs rooms and the public passageways have been given a new lick of paint and rewired. As well as improvements to the backstage area and an entire overhaul of the on stage facilities. When shows are permitted to return, performers can expect entirely new lighting and sound systems above their heads.

Jacob added: “Throughout this process we have found countless beautiful original Victorian features that have been hidden behind layers of paint or boarded up. It’s been really exciting to see these elements come back to life and shine like they were intended to.”

The Paint Pots appeal has been supported by Turner and Wood Decorating Supplies in Yeadon and Airevalley Decorators who have both donated time and resources.

To support the Paint Pots appeal, or find out more about the plans to further redevelop the building, visit www.guiseleytheatre.org

Earlier this year Guiseley Theatre unveiled its ambitious new development plans to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of its founder.

Sir Matthew William Thompson led the initiative to build the town hall and provided funding. He gave the deeds for the building to the town council stipulating that it was “for the use of the inhabitants of Guiseley forever”.

To celebrate the anniversary, the board of the new Guiseley Theatre CIC shared plans for the redevelopment of the building and launched a fundraising campaign.