Beloved Orchard Theatre in Dartford Faces Delay in Reopening Due to Technical Issues

Plans to reopen the beloved Orchard Theatre in Home Gardens, Dartford have hit a snag as technical issues have caused a delay. The theatre, which was set to open its doors to the public in September, has been undergoing extensive refurbishment since last year when the council discovered reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in the roof.

While progress on replacing the roof has been steady, the restoration of the theatre’s technical equipment and other improvements to enhance the audience experience have proven to be more time-consuming than anticipated. As a result, the theatre will not be able to resume shows until early 2025. This means that some upcoming performances may be relocated to the nearby Orchard West, while others may need to be rescheduled or canceled.

The Orchard Theatre released a statement addressing the delay, stating that they will contact ticket holders once decisions have been made. In the meantime, the temporary theatre, Orchard West, has been successfully entertaining audiences just 300 meters away on Hythe Street since its debut in December. The purpose-built venue was erected in record time to accommodate the town’s Christmas pantomime and has since continued to host a variety of productions.

Last September, The Orchard Theatre was forced to close with immediate effect after RAAC was discovered in the roof during a routine inspection. This came after a nationwide audit of public buildings following the discovery of the potentially hazardous material in several schools the previous summer.

Despite the setback, the theatre is determined to reopen its doors as soon as possible and continue to provide quality entertainment for the community. Fans of The Orchard Theatre are advised to stay tuned for updates and look forward to its grand reopening in early 2025.

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