The old kiosk in the lobby of Chelmsford Theatre with dated wood panelling and old-fashioned carpets
The bar in Chelmsford Theatre’s foyer before and after the refurbishment.

Chelmsford Theatre welcomed the return of audiences on Saturday 14 January as its doors reopened following a six-month refurbishment.

An astonishing transformation

The revamp has transformed the theatre from a worn-out venue that hadn’t been updated for many decades, into a sleek, stylish, and welcoming space which is ready to entertain audiences.

The theatre’s foyers, box office, bar areas and toilets have all been upgraded, resulting in a dramatic new décor scheme. The works have also provided more space for audiences to mingle and extra areas for new small-scale events and activities. Use the sliders below to see the transformation of the theatre’s front-of-house spaces.

The main lobby of Chelmsford Theatre before its refurbishment, There is dated-looking wood panelling on the kiosk, wakks and box office counter and aThe newly-refurbished main lobby area of Chelmsford Theatre with blue walls, new carpet and a more open
A before and after view of Chelmsford Theatre’s foyer.
The dated bar at Chelmsford Theatre before its refurbishment. There are ceiling tiles and old-fashioned booths with dated wallpaper on the left hand sideThe newly-refurbished main bar with blue velvet seats along the left hand side and a new marble bar area along the right
The main theatre bar before and after the revamp.
The upstairs bar at Chelmsford theatre before refurbishment which was small and dated. The bar is a kiosk in the wall with a wooden surround.The upstairs theatre bar following its refurbishment. The space is much bigger with a more open bar and counter and an area to stand with drinks along one side
The upstairs bar before and after its makeover.

Chelmsford City Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Marie Goldman says the refurbishment cements Chelmsford Theatre’s position as a first-rate entertainment venue.

Following a challenging renovation process which saw some unexpected delays, it’s wonderful to see the theatre’s lights on, the stage set and an audience buzzing with joy once more. This makeover has absolutely transformed the theatre’s front-of-house spaces, presenting a stunning contemporary venue for Chelmsford. The investment elevates the theatre’s role in the community, ensuring its commercial viability for the years to come. With more to unveil over the coming weeks, it’s an exciting time for Chelmsford Theatre.

Cllr Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader, Chelmsford City Council

Determination to reopen for first shows of 2023

Timings were incredibly tight during the final stages of the works. Following the cancellation of the annual pantomime in 2022, the project team were determined to ensure the theatre would reopen in January. They have worked tirelessly in recent weeks, including over the festive season, to make this happen.

Though the theatre is open, and January’s shows will look and feel as spectacular as usual, there are just a few things yet to finish. Contractors will be making the final touches to the interiors, including the installation of a brand-new stair lift down to the theatre bar to complement the existing access route.

More announcements to come from Chelmsford Theatre

In the coming weeks, the theatre will open its first ever café with an outdoor terrace from which to enjoy al fresco drinks in the summer months. A membership scheme will be launching, and a number of workshops and masterclasses will be taking place for young theatre enthusiasts.

As the theatre enters this soft launch phase, ticket holders are invited to share their feedback via post-show surveys to help the team create a fantastic customer experience.

Chelmsford City Culture Services Manager, Marc De’ath, says he hopes theatre goers will agree that the new look is a huge improvement on the previously outdated and tired-looking spaces.

The entire Chelmsford Theatre team is so excited to welcome people back and to host a brilliant array of performances this season. Our audiences in January will get the very first glimpses of the theatre’s transformation, with the front-of-house spaces looking much more modern, spacious, and welcoming. If you have tickets booked for a show, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the newly renovated spaces. We really appreciate your understanding while we work on the final adjustments to give Chelmsford the theatre it deserves.

Marc De’ath, Chelmsford City Culture Services Manager

Keep in touch for up-to-date news

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By Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes stories for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at or 01245 606982.