The "Shaftesbury Quest" was launched in 1999. Phases one and two of the Shaftesbury Quest achieved the main aims of sloping the auditorium to create better views for audiences and to create space below, and to provide level access to the theatre which would also be suitable for disabled visitors. New cloakrooms and disabled facilities were also added under the rake of the auditorium, thus opening up the front of the theatre to make a large foyer with a much improved box office space.
Phase three hopes eventually to provide a "fly tower" and other backstage improvements but this is yet to come.
Phase one of the project was completed by contractors, ROK, in January 2005 and phase two (again undertaken by ROK) in April 2007. A total in excess of £200,000 was raised and spent completing these works.
The rendering at the front of the theatre was also in a bad state and was repaired and the outside of the building decorated. The theatre barometer was restored to its former glory. April 2009 saw the final stage of Phase 2 in the provision of completely level access to the theatre when the forecourt was sloped and paved.
We have the necessary planning permission in place for further works and to install a fly tower, and these have been kept "live" as we carried out some lighting box improvements that were part of the planning permission. We will have to start fundraising again in order to carry out these final ambitious improvements.
The Quest team was formed from volunteers from the Company and their task was to raise the necessary funds to allow the improvements to go ahead. This was achieved by making national grant applications, contacting local businesses, by applications to the Lottery and other charitable organisations and through members' own fund raising events. We were fortunate to receive £30,000 from Dawlish Town Council and £15,000 from Ugbrooke Environmental as well as many smaller bequests from local business and the Town Council since.
Fundraising now continues to enable the building to be maintained, over and above the rents and income that the theatre receives from outside hirers and Dawlish Rep itself, and recently new lighting and scenery rigs were installed above the stage. Continual works are needed to ensure the building and facilities are kept up to date with the latest legislation. Fundraising now is carried out under the name of The Development Fund, and the proceeds from the table top sales, the 100 club and any raffles etc are all put towards this fund. If you would be interested in helping with our fund-raising efforts, or have any ideas on new fund raising opportunities, please write to The Secretary, Dawlish Rep, c/o The Shaftesbury Theatre.