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Going up in the world

Blackfriars Theatre kindly invited Boston Big Local to the opening of their brand new lift - a project that has been more than ten years in the making.

It started as a hope and dream to enable more people to access the stage and the theatre. An extremely kind donation of £11,000 in the will of Dot Hugh enabled the project to move into a real possibility.

Years prior, Dot, along with her late husband, Peter, who worked as a projectionist at a local cinema, requested that their money be put towards the installation of the lift at Blackfriars Theatre.

Now with around a third of the required funding needed for the lift, Rob Barclay from Blackfriars Theatre approached the residents of Boston Big Local for support with further funding. We happily agreed to donate a further £22,000.

With a final funding offer of £5,000 from Len Medlock, there was enough money for the project to have lift off!

One of Blackfriar's directors, John Tillson, was chosen to manage the project. John, along with the Blackfriar's committee, selected H.H. Adkins the builders to carry out the work.

John said: "Adkins could not have supported Blackfriars any more than they did and the quality of their work was outstanding."

The lift installation project was extremely challenging because of some unforeseen large structural difficulties of the medieval theatre building. The only downside of the lift installation was the extra cost to Blackfriars. This hit their restoration fund hard. If you wish to donate to their fund to help with further theatre refurbishments you can by http://www.blackfriarsartscentre.co.uk/

Since the lift has been opened, Blackfriars is now fully accessible for theatre users and actors and the feedback has been very positively received. A member of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association who visited Blackfriars said: "I would struggle to name five theatres nationally that can do what you do for people with disabilities."

Rob Barclay and a member from a theatre in Lincoln stated how impressed they were with the quality of the lift and how quiet it is to not disturb any of the performances.

We are really proud to have helped Blackfriars to make the town's theatre more accessible for even more people to use and to perform.

Mark Baker, Boston Big Local

Blackfriars and BBL Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
From left:  David Grant, Blackfriars director, Richard Tory, chairman of Boston Big Local, Don Jenkins, member of Boston Big Local residents' panel, and Blackfriars directors Rob Barclay, Stuart Bull and John Tillson