The John Peel Theatre, Wigton

Case Study


The John Peel Theatre is a little theatre in the heart of Wigton in Cumbria which has been entertaining audiences for over 60 years. Owned by Wigton Theatre Club, which was established in 1952, it is a charity run entirely by volunteers.

The building which opened in 1884 was originally designed as a Salvation Army barracks and served as such until 1964 when it was sold and then rented to the theatre club. The building was eventually purchased by the theatre club in 1988.


Renovation Works

After securing funding for improvements, the theatre building underwent its first phase of major refurbishment work in 2015. Following this the theatre club was successful in obtaining other funding and grants allowing them to upgrade various elements of the building and auditorium including signage, sound, and lighting, improvements to the stage and backstage areas and the installation of solar panels.

The second phase of refurbishment work started in 2019 with the installation of new front doors in July and refurbishment of the seating and auditorium in September and October.


Plans for Restoration

The original fixed theatre seats were over 100 years old and had undergone numerous modifications over the years. As an important part of its heritage, the theatre was committed to preserving the seats whilst making the theatre experience as comfortable and special as possible for its audiences.

Although the seats had started to look shabby, the theatre sought to have them sympathetically restored and returned to their former splendour, rather than simply replacing them.

Close up of 2 seats at The John Peel Theatre before refurbishment

The theatre planned to refurbish its 60 fixed seats and order new linking seats for the stalls area. This was to provide the flexibility to open up the performance space when necessary and also to give patrons space to dance at their regular open mic nights.

Evertaut was asked to quote for the seating refurbishment work and paid a visit to the theatre to assess the condition of the existing fixed seats and the level of work required. Following our meeting we submitted our quotation which was received favourably by the theatre, leading to us being commissioned to undertake the work.


Refurbishing the Old Seats

In September 2019, our fitters went in to start the first phase of the refurbishment process – taking out the seats.  This opened up the auditorium space so other tradespeople could come in and start work on redecoration whilst back at our Blackburn factory, work could begin on refurbishing the seats.

Auditorium at The John Peel Theatre during stages of refurbishment

Transformation underway – following removal of the seats, new flooring and carpeting was fitted and the auditorium was redecorated.


Returning the Seating to its Former Splendour

The original metalwork was sanded and repainted gold to match the colour it would originally have been.

Refurbished seat frames at The John Peel Theatre being refitted

The new rich red velvet upholstery looked stunning against the gold painted metalwork as the refurbished seats were put back together and fitted back into the auditorium space.

Close up of refurbished seats backs and arms during refitting at The John Peel Theatre
Auditorium at The John Peel Theatre following seating refurbishment

Upon reopening, audiences were very impressed with how beautiful the refurbished seats were looking, and all the members of the theatre club were extremely pleased with the end results.

“On behalf of all of us, I would like to say a big thank you to you all for excellent help and advice over the phone, for a beautiful job on the refurbishment, and most of all to your two refit engineers today, who worked incredibly hard, and were so resourceful and efficient. They had real difficulties when they found the backs were of two different sizes and they took longer to fit because of this. Dennis, our site manager, and I have nothing but praise for them. The seats look amazing now. Thank you!”

Connie Jensen, Chair, Wigton Theatre Club @ The John Peel Theatre

More information on The John Peel Theatre

To find out more about Wigton Theatre Club, The John Peel Theatre, and its heritage, please click here to visit the theatre’s website.


Do you want to explore the option of refurbishment?

If you would like to explore the option of having your auditorium seats refurbished, please get in touch to discuss your requirements or to request a no-obligation quotation.