Revealed: Behind-the-scenes at Yorkshire theatre following £16m upgrade

Keziah Dean (left) and Isabelle Heath from NAPA are pictured on stage at Hull New Theatre
Keziah Dean (left) and Isabelle Heath from NAPA are pictured on stage at Hull New Theatre

Audiences are being promised more top-notch West End productions as the curtains open at Hull New Theatre, after its £16m upgrade.

The new-look theatre was revealed today, six weeks ahead of its official reopening, with a sell-out one-night-only performance by the Royal Ballet.

Management say theatregoers are embracing the new programme, which includes the National Theatre's Jane Eyre and a new John Godber comedy, with ticket sales showing "positive signs."

Biggest seller of the Autumn season is Carole King's Beautiful, which is coming to Hull, on a national tour after two years at the Aldwych Theatre in London, which has already sold nearly 5,000 tickets.

Over 8,000 tickets have also sold for award-winning West End production Jersey Boys, which arrives at Hull New Theatre in February.

Hull Council spent £11m on the project to make the theatre a "world class venue", with £5m from the Arts Council.

Hull New Theatre - after its 16m revamp

Hull New Theatre - after its 16m revamp

The auditorium has increased in size to 1,330 seats, as part of the revamp, which has seen a transformation of technical and backstage infrastructure, including a larger 27m flytower, new entrance and foyer, as well as new-look restaurant and bars.

Theatre manager Janice Wincott said they were in "exciting conversations" with key touring companies and producers.

She added: "It's fantastic to see the result of the last two years hard work. It is truly a world class venue.

"There's just so much enthusiasm and excitement from the public."

The auditorium at Hull New Theatre

The auditorium at Hull New Theatre

Council leader Steve Brady expects the theatre to attract more top-class West End shows, which bypassed Hull in the past.

"What I'd like is more Hull people to come and take in the quality of the productions that are going to come to this city," he added.

"It's their money that has gone into the renovations and we want them to see the rewards."

Executive producer for Hull 2017 Niccy Halifax added: "I think it is absolutely amazing what they have done. For touring shows it is critical to get in and out quickly - time is money and this building now allows that. The work has been done sensitively and the building has kept its character."

The theatre closed last January for work to begin.

The Esteem group - Morgan Sindall Investments Limited, Robertson Capital Projects Limited and Hull-based Sewell Group - carried out the design and refurbishment. It previously delivered the £400m Building Schools for the Future programme.

The project has employed the skills of 37 further local companies and 134 apprentices and trainees throughout the 69 weeks on site.

At the height of work, more than 250 workers were on site each day .