You can now take a tour of the Winter Gardens in Morecambe - from the comfort of your own home!
Morecambe Winter Gardens has launched a new virtual tour of the building, enabling visitors to explore the wonders of the theatre while the venue is closed.
Currently in the middle of a £600,000 restoration project funded by Historic England, Coastal Communities Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund, the theatre is undergoing a renaissance in support from national bodies over the past six months.
A team of builders and specialist craftsmen including local company Bay Builders and Hayles and Howe from Bristol are working to complete the renovation.
News in January of an uplift to their Historic England grant allied with the additional support from the Culture Recovery Fund has enabled crucial financial support over the long winter months.
However, as it is still nearly three months before the theatre can once again open, the trustees are embracing the digital world as a means of supporting the theatre.
Prof Vanessa Toulmin, chair of the trust, was delighted with a new film edited and produced by former BBC Look North West reporter Dave Guest and funded through a Marketing Lancashire Covid Business Support Grant.
The technical support by local company Tech Solutions has also upgraded the theatre’s digital infrastructure to enable streaming and webcam productions.
Prof Toulmin said: "The Winter Gardens is hopefully facing a bright future after the difficulties of the last year.
"We are optimistic that we can open to the public with a new heating system, a fully restored ceiling and an exciting programme of events.
"However, our income, which covers our everyday costs such as utilities, building maintenance and insurance, has dropped considerably and by supporting our virtual tour you are bringing us one step closer to a successful reopening.
"Showcasing our wonderful building and revealing those hidden gems in the building is a wonderful way for those who cannot visit to see the building."
Peter Wade, a long-time fundraiser, supporter and local historian who has actively raised more than £100,000 over the past 20 years for the Winter Gardens, guides the viewers alongside Prof Toulmin on a tour of the theatre.
All proceeds go towards the continuous charitable goal, to restore and regenerate the marvellous Grade 2* listed Victorian theatre, one of only 30 theatres of this designation in England and Wales.
Prof Toulmin believes the film can also act as an advertisement for Morecambe by encouraging visitors to the town when restrictions are lifted.
She said: "We hope it will encourage you to visit our beautiful theatre situated on the seafront of Morecambe Bay or to take seat from the comfort of your home and explore a venue once called the Albert Hall of the north."
More details can be found online here - the virtual tour costs £5 and works on all devices.