The opening of Chester's long-awaited Storyhouse is now just months away and the buzz is building.
Contractors have been hard at work constructing the £37m cultural centre – which will be the biggest of its kind outside London – for the past 24 months, and the finishing touches will be made over the coming weeks before its opening season launches in May.
The 7,500-square metre building will unify a cinema, library and theatre under one roof in the heart of the city.
The major infrastructure project has comprised a contemporary extension which will house the new theatre spaces and the sympathetic restoration of the art deco Odeon cinema, where the new boutique picturehouse and library will be located.
Repairs to the Odeon's retro features like its 1930s hexagonal clock, ceiling coves, staircases and windows have helped to restore it to its former glory.
Modern touches like underfloor heating have been installed, using a hefty 3.5 miles of pipework.
While in the extension, lighting and theatre seats have been fitted, ready for 'lights, camera, action'.
The total amount of steel used in the creation of Storyhouse comes to 1,100 tonnes, which is the equivalent of a staggering 85 double decker buses.
The next few weeks will see the Storyhouse sign and the Odeon's iconic canopy erected.
Principal sponsors MBNA were blown away by the 'exceptional' progress when they took a hardhat tour of the development recently.
Alex Clifton, artistic director of Storyhouse, said: “It’s a great joy to see people’s faces light up when they walk around Storyhouse, particularly when they are as invested in the project as MBNA.
"The architect’s visuals have always shown the scale of the ambition, but nothing quite captures how Storyhouse can make you feel until you’re actually inside.”
Storyhouse's opening season of home produced shows are on sale now.
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