Big screen comes to the little theatre in new programme

A Wolverhampton theatre is expanding its opening hours in a bid to provide a greater offer to the people of the city.

The University of Wolverhampton’s Arena Theatre in Wulfruna Street has been running for 42 years and stages around 200 performances every year.

The venue, which has a 150 seat main theatre along with 60 space Tilstone Studio, bar and café and meetings rooms, is extending its opening times from three nights a week to six.

As well as eclectic theatre performances, there will be additional nights offering film, spoken word and music.

Around £50,000 has been spent on a cinema screen and new speakers and projection equipment for the theatre’s new Monday night Arena Film Theatre.

This will screen classic films, revivals, award winners and big screen hits you may have missed first time around - all screened at 6pm every Monday.

Films lined up so far include Groundhog Day, The Exorcist which is celebrating its 45th anniversary, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Avengers: Infinity War. Disney’s Coco is having a special matinee screening during next week’s half-term at 2pm on Monday 29 October.

A special screening of The Greatest Showman was staged on October 22 to launch the new programme for invited guests.

Prices will range from £6 for the public, £5 for concessions and £3.50 for staff and students and season tickets will also be available.

The theatre will be open for longer too between 10am and 10pm with a new a catering offer including hot food, coffee, cake and snacks and after 5pm a fully licensed bar will be in operation.

A number of theatre supper nights will be held on October 23 and November 27 where guests can get food and drink as part of their experience and a new outdoor seating area has also been created on the terrace outside.

Neil Reading, general manager of the Arena Theatre, said: “We’re really excited to be offering a wider range of performance over six nights a week for the first time in our history.

“The main thing we want to do is encourage greater engagement with staff, students and the wider Wolverhampton audience.

“People will know The Arena for its innovative theatre experiences but we want to be able to appeal to a broader audience and become a destination of choice for arts and entertainment in the city.

“We think by offering a range of options such as film, spoken word and music we can attract new audiences and encourage new talent too.

“The changes will keep us as relevant as possible and by providing longer opening times and more food and drink will mean we create an opportunity for more people to come and experience what the Arena has to offer.”

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, said: “I’m a huge fan of what the Arena does and am proud that its part of the University. It is a fantastic venue in the heart of the city centre and a great space for staff, students and the wider public to come to and enjoy a range of arts and entertainment.”

The Arena Theatre is funded by the University of Wolverhampton and The Arts Council.

For a full programme of events visit the Arena Theatre website or contact the box office on 01902 321321.

ENDS

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