Digital projector marks start of plan to transform Ludlow Assembly Rooms A NEW digital projector will be installed at Ludlow Assembly Rooms within weeks. The £60,000 investment is the first part of a major plan to transform the facility that has been approved by the venue’s board. If the plan – that requires the approval of Shropshire Council, which owns the building – goes ahead, it will transform the way that the arts and community centre is run.
A vital element of the proposal is to combine the existing Tourist Information Centre and booking office as a one-stop shop for users of the building and visitors to the town. It is also envisaged that a ground floor restaurant and the town’s museum would come together as part of a combined attraction. “There is a lot of sense in the booking office, where people come for their tickets, to be combined with the Tourist Information Centre, where people come to find out about the attractions in the town and surrounding area,” said Samantha Hines, who has been advising the Assembly Rooms on its business plan. “It would also seem sensible to give people who are visiting the town and come to the museum to have the opportunity to get a meal. “There is an obvious synerg y between the Tourist Information Centre, booking office, museum and a restaurant so it would make sense to bring them all together in a way that can help to maximise the revenue for the Assembly Rooms.”
No decision has been made about whether the preferred option is for a restaurant to be run ‘in-house’ by the Assembly Rooms or in partnership with a commercial outlet. Earlier this year Shropshire Council revealed that it was talking to restaurant chains, including ASK, about using the ground floor. While Shropshire Council is considering the various options, a £70,000 refurbishment of the interior of the building will press ahead. The new digital projection system is being installed early next month and should be showing films by Christmas. “We can install the new system alongside the existing projector so there will be no need to close. A digital system will improve quality as well as the availability of films. It will also provide the option of taking streaming from other venues,” said Ms Hines.
A decision about the appointment of a director to replace Paula Redway, who left in the summer, is expected to be made early in the new year. “We are confident that through a combination of new opportunities to generate income, energy efficiency and cost-saving measures, investment in the building and our equipment and new ways of working in partnership, we can steer the Assembly Rooms safely through to the next stage in its life,” said Mike Penn, chairman of the board of the Assembly Rooms. “The board has presented its business plan options to Shropshire Council and we are talking to them about how we can work together to ensure the long-term future of this vitally important community arts facility within the prominent and historic building that is Ludlow Assembly Rooms.”