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Milestone for new-look Colosseum...

(26th May 2011)

Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill was watched eagerly by a large gathering of council members, senior staff and project team leaders as she wielded a ceremonial trowel to perform a topping out ceremony at the Watford Colosseum.

The renowned entertainment venue, which has played host to top international stars of radio, stage and screen for over 70 years, is in the final stages of a £5m rebuilding and renovation programme by locally-based regional contractor Kier London.

To mark the structural completion of a striking new glass-fronted foyer, Mayor Thornhill was invited by Kier London operations director Norman Elliott to cement in place the final bricks, in keeping with age-old building tradition.

The works being undertaken by the Maple Cross office of Kier London also involve refurbishing the main auditorium, with a combination of new retractable, loose and fixed seating for up to 1,400, plus new sound and lighting systems. The Colosseum’s small hall is also being given a makeover, with new flooring and a bar area, while retaining its original features.

Speaking to a large gathering of senior representatives from the borough, Kier and Qdos Entertainment, which will be managing the new-look venue when it reopens for the autumn and winter season, the Mayor spoke of the excitement at seeing long-cherished plans becoming reality.

She added: “This project has been incredibly well organised and run. As with any scheme of this scale, issues arise, but we have been able to sit round the table and resolve them.”

The Mayor said the new Colosseum was on course for completion this summer on time and to budget. It was worth it for the people of Watford, she said, to ensure they had a high quality entertainment venue to match such an important regional location.

She applauded the project team for their dedication and accessibility. “Thanks for making this project as stress-free and hassle-free as possible.”

Speaking for main building contractor Kier London, operations director Norman Elliott said: “We are holding this event to celebrate a major milestone in the programme. As a long-established locally-based business, we are thrilled to be improving this popular and historic grade II listed building for future generations of theatregoers.”

Over the years the Colosseum has hosted performances from world renowned performers such as Elton John, Oasis, Genesis, The Who, Robbie Williams, The Kinks, Slade, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, as well as top comedians such as Victoria Wood and Lenny Henry.

The refurbishment of the celebrated concert hall will boost the live entertainment scene in Watford, with a line-up of top international and UK comedy, rock, pop, classic music and family shows. Highlights for the coming season include John Barrowman, Jools Holland, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia and the Watford Colosseum Grand Opening Classical Gala on Saturday October 1.

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