What's New at Weymouth Pavilion?

Published on:
Saturday 9th February 2019

Over the past few months the Pavilion has received some much needed TLC.

A £250,000 grant from Weymouth & Portland Borough Council has paid for a new covering to the main theatre roof and the majority of the new double glazing around the building.

The new covering is a modern GRP covering over the 60 year old thin copper, which is what gave the roof its characteristic green colour. The copper has not been completely removed and the new covering has been tinted to match the old iconic colour.

You will find new double glazing in many areas from the Ocean Room, through the corridor and foyer areas, the Piano Bar and office spaces. There are also four fire exit doors that are due to be changed in the next few weeks.

The whole building has been pressure washed and areas treated with a moisture resistant coasting to help keep out the weather! The rear of the building has also received a new coat of paint and all the railings have been treated and painted black.

Other, perhaps less obvious work, has also been completed…

All the rain water guttering, downpipes and associated drainage systems have been unblocked and are now functioning as new once again. It’s amazing how many shells the local bird population left up there for us!

The crumbling soffits under the green roof have been treated, repaired and covered with white aluminum plates to protect the area.

The original external shell mosaics on the ground level have been exposed, once of which has unfortunately had a door cut into it to meet modern fire regulations. We intend to restore what we can over the next few weeks, along with replacing the missing green slate above the rotunda windows.

We are investigating the ‘Mermaids’ in the panels above to find out if they were removed or just rendered over. If anyone has any information regarding this or if you know of an expert render remover please let us know!

To the right of the building you will see scaffolding still in place. This is because the Fly Tower (the tallest part of the building directly above the stage) has a crack. It’s been there for many years but we though it should be mended whilst access was available.

In 2011 the Council recovered the theatre stage with thin sheets of MDF. This has worn considerably over the last five years so we have removed the old sheets and recovered the stage with new thicker sheets of fair faced ply. This will also increase the load-bearing capacity of the stage for larger productions. In between shows, these new sheets are being painted and treated to ensure their longevity.

New External Lighting

Weymouth Pavilion has had decorative lighting since the mid 1970s, so lighting up the pillars is not a new idea! It has seen a few reincarnations over the years; the previous lights were old bluey/purple lights which used 500 watts each, so consumed a large amount of electricity every time we switched them on.

The new lights are LED and require substantially less power, less than 10% of the old ones. They can each produce Red, Green, Blue and White light and any combination thereof, so we can create just about any colour by mixing them! Keep an eye out for themed lights for many different holidays, occasions and celebrations!

There are 32 lights around the main theatre building and they are controlled individually so each light can be a different colour at any time.

These new lights have been sourced, installed, and are operated by the team here at the Pavilion and the electrical wiring was carried out by a local electrical company. No external consultants, designers, installers or programmers have been used.

What’s Next?

We are always aiming to make improvements where possible and we’re now moving on to the next phase…

One complaint we keep getting is that the Pavilion does not have enough toilets. It’s an old theatre thing – even the big West End theatres suffer from the same problem!

We have identified an area in the Piano Bar (under the eaves at the top of the stairs) which would work with plumbing and waste constraints, so we are building a new ladies toilet with four cubicles to service the theatre and restaurant.

As well as more toilets, the Piano Bar Restaurant is also receiving a makeover, relocating the bar to the far side of the circle doors (so Ladies on one side, new bar on the other). This will create more seating, as there is a fairly large dead space behind the existing bar, and will also create an additional window table with views across Weymouth beach. The Piano Bar will also have a new carpet and new furniture.

Work to refurbish the Piano Bar started on Monday 4 February and we’re aiming to have it completed by Saturday 16 February.

Just before Christmas we also recommissioned the original heating system for the Piano Bar. It is a similar system to the main auditorium heating system and, like the theatre heating, is all original from the 1960s! We believe that it was last used in the early 1980s.

It’s important to note that all this work, externally and internally, has been carried out by local contractors; it was something that we insisted on.

Following all of this, we will have a short break before we move on to the next project. Watch this space…