ORGANISERS behind the extensive renovation of Scarborough’s Spa Complex are confident that it will be complete by the beginning of May because tickets for the curtain-raiser are now on sale.
Last week it was announced that the £6.5 million refurbishment was due to be completed by Saturday May 7 – with the world-renowned Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra booked to play that night in the Grand Hall.
Jeremy Hartill, the Spa’s executive manager, said: “It’s a real thrill to have secured the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra for the opening night at the refurbished Grand Hall.
“With the new stage extension and lift it makes it much easier for large ensembles like this to perform.
“The investment from Scarborough Council and regional development agency Yorkshire Forward gives us much more flexibility in terms of the acts we can accommodate.
“There is a tremendous sense of excitement which is gaining momentum the more we see the refurbishment of the Grand Hall taking shape and the closer we get to the opening night.”
The 100-strong orchestra, which is conducted by Alexei Stepanov, will perform works by Russian composer Tchaikovsky – including extracts from Eugene Onegin and the ballet Nutcracker.
It will also feature two soloists – the soprano Dinara Alieva and the baritone Andrei Grigoriev.
A Scarborough Council spokesman said that the final piece of the structural jigsaw was being slotted into place.
He added: “The over-stage steel structure to support the lighting, sound and scenery equipment is being lifted into place high up in the roof of the hall, using spider cranes, which are small enough to get into the hall through the double doors to the front terrace yet sturdy enough to lift almost three tonnes when the legs are unfolded.
“The stage lift, which is now in place and working, is yet another piece of engineering magic. The lift is supported on four steel chains which lock in place when vertical and fold away when in the lowest position.
“The lift will enable Spa theatre staff to access new underfloor storage and will also operate as an orchestra pit and a stage extension, giving a stage area of 14.2m wide by 9.5m deep.
“This extensive refurbishment project has also seen significant redevelopment of the Spa reception areas and offices as well as the communication systems, air conditioning and technical equipment.”
Scarborough’s spa water was first discovered in 1620 and the first Spa building was built by 1700.
It was replaced by the larger Georgian saloon in 1739. And it was later rebranded as the Spa Complex in 1827 after it was sold to the Cliff Bridge Company who built a footbridge linking the Spa and the town was opened.
The buildings were later replaced with the current Victorian Gothic buildings – featuring the Grand Hall, gardens, a promenade and bandstand – and were officially opened in 1858.