During routine maintenance of our building, a structural fault was identified in the concrete floor of the Grand Vault music venue and the seated theatre at The Old Courts. After inspection of the fault, and as a precautionary measure, structural engineers have recommended that neither venue should be in public use until the faults are rectified.
The cause of the fault has been identified as a result of construction work carried out by an external contractor.
What are we doing?
We have been working closely with our insurers to move forward with the repair work and wider planning. However, as it does need the support of heritage accredited architects, structural engineers and other professional services, it may be several months before we know the full programme of works required, and the associated timescales for reopening.
Over the past month we’ve worked tirelessly to update all affected artists, hirers and ticket holders, and we’re thankful for the overwhelming support we’ve received from those concerned. While we believe we have contacted everyone concerned, if an artist, hirer or ticket holder is unsure whether they are affected, I’d ask you to please get in touch with one of our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d like to reassure our customers that this issue is isolated to the Grand Vault music venue and the seated theatre at The Old Courts, and does not affect the entirety of our building. This means we remain open and fully functioning in all other spaces on site including our Bailiff Bar, Court Room, Café, Community Room and studio spaces.
As a responsible non-profit, we hold extremely comprehensive insurance on the building, and the organisation, and whilst in the medium-term, this will restrict our ability to operate fully in the space, our financial stability and resilience remains strong thanks to our reserves which have been built over many years of developing the space and the continued support of our funders. And of course, we will continue to welcome guests to all other areas of The Old Courts, so in this case, it’s very much business as usual.
We love events, we love culture, and we love welcoming people through our doors every week. As such, we’ve started to explore the possibility of expediting the works on Pier 4 at Wigan Pier. We’re all feeling very optimistic and are hoping we can soon host a wide range of events featuring world class culture that we’ve dreamed about for so long.
We’re working closely with Wigan Council and the developers, Step Places, who have both been very supportive in this process and are doing everything they can to support us to make this happen a lot earlier than originally planned.
In July, we will once again host a pop up event in Pier 4; ‘Burnt Out In Biscuit Land’ is a live and digital performance and forms part of a national tour that we have co-produced with Touretteshero. It will challenge audiences to think about disability in different ways. The event will blend film, live performance and conversation as it aims to create a space for people around the country to come together physically, and digitally, to celebrate disability culture, neurodiversity and difference.
Whilst this event will take place under a Temporary Event Notice and will be very much a ‘pop up’ event, we will be ensuring that any investment into infrastructure will provide a more permanent solution to help with the expedition of works.
Despite the current challenges relating to an isolated part of The Old Courts, we remain positive, and are looking forward to focusing our efforts now on bringing Wigan Pier and the Royal Court Theatre back to life. Thank you to everyone who continues to support us and we look forward to welcoming our visitors into all other areas of The Old Courts.
Work on Pier 2 and 3 (the old Orwell building and education centre) has been behind the scenes over the last 12 months with architectural drawings, public consultation, project planning and sourcing a contractor. The final drawings and project planning stages are now nearing completion and although an opening date has yet to be confirmed, it is hoped it will be late 2023.
Yesterday (Monday, 15 May), contractors started on site with strip out works in Pier 2. Once complete as a multi event space, the venue will comprise a large tap room style pub, an artisan food offer and flexible space which will be suitable for weddings, conferences and culture events.
A full update on the Royal Court Theatre will be released in the next couple of weeks but, in summary, work completed so far includes an emergency package of works that safeguards it for the future. Over the next few months, design work will be undertaken to plan the final stage of the scheme followed by an intense fundraising period.
We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us over the past few weeks, and who continue to show their support by visiting our Bailiff Bar, enjoying a coffee in our café and visiting our other spaces. We really appreciate it.
Team OC x