Watford Borough Council has accelerated plans to ensure that the celebrated Grade II listed Watford Colosseum remains an iconic venue for future generations.
The historic building – which has been the recording home for the soundtracks of The Lord of the Rings, The Sound of Music and Star Wars, among others – will undergo a major refurbishment programme, with £5million earmarked for the works.
With all shows cancelled and the venue closed to the public for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic, the council and the current operator, HQ Theatres, agreed it made sense to end their contract slightly earlier than planned.
Cementing the Colosseum’s reputation as one of the country’s greatest music venues is news of the council’s new two-year deal with the BBC Concert Orchestra, who will continue using it for rehearsals and recordings from January 2021.
Artistic director of Watford Palace Theatre, Brigid Larmour said “What is very exciting about the Council’s new plan for the Colosseum is that, in addition to preserving and enhancing its role as a home for our world-famous BBC Concert Orchestra, it is also reimagining how the building can be used, offering new opportunities for local professional artists and creative community projects.
“This will build on the strong partnerships that already exist within Watford’s cultural sector, which have become even closer during the COVID-18 crisis. In these difficult times, it’s important for us as a town to keep looking ahead to the future, and ensure that this much loved part of our cultural heritage can continue to play a central role in the life of the community.”
Andrew Connolly, director at BBC Concert Orchestra added: “I am delighted that Watford Colosseum and its fine acoustics will continue to be available as our home rehearsal and recording base in 2021. The BBC Concert Orchestra has been coming to Watford on a regular basis since 2002 and we are fortunate to have ongoing access to such a venue.”