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Dartford Borough Council has pushed the button on £180,000 of refurbishments at The Orchard Theatre to improve the experience for theatregoers.

Work begins this month to install an air-cooling system to ensure theatregoers stay cool in the Theatre’s packed auditorium. The Orchard Theatre is one of the south-east’s most popular venues, and air cooling will maintain its reputation as a superbly appointed theatre.

The work follows a major improvement programme last year which saw the installation of new seating, kiosks and refurbished foyer.

Jeremy Kite, Leader of Dartford Borough Council, said, “The Orchard Theatre lies at the heart of Dartford’s cultural life, and we’re enormously proud of the way Chris and his team have taken its reputation to new heights. Theatregoers love The Orchard but have asked for a cooler auditorium, and I’m delighted to confirm this work will now go ahead. It’s great to be able to help Chris and his team offer theatregoers an even better experience.”

Chris Glover, Theatre Director of The Orchard Theatre, added, “The Council has been amazingly supportive, and with their encouragement, we have improved our programme of shows and events resulting in significant audience growth in recent years. It means we are welcoming an increased number of visitors to the venue, and these new works will hugely improve theatregoers’ experience. I know many arts facilities are under financial pressure, but here in Dartford we have much to thank the Council for. They have been with us all the way.”

The Orchard Theatre is proud to boast an extremely high calibre of shows passing through the doors. It continues to launch brand-new productions and this year will host premieres for an exciting array of shows, including the stage adaptation of Peter James’ Dead Simple and the preview performances for Derren Brown’s Miracle. The Orchard Theatre is also launching the new tours of children’s favourite Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom and The National Theatre’s award-winning production of J.B. Priestley’s classic thriller An Inspector Calls. To complement the growing list of premieres, The Orchard Theatre is now a regular stop for some of the UK’s most renowned touring productions. This season To Kill A Mockingbird and The Full Monty visit Dartford both direct from the West End, as well as a long list of dazzling touring musicals including Calamity Jane, Return To The Forbidden Planet, Anything Goes, Oklahoma and Avenue Q.