Feeding the Arts

Refurbishing History

Built in the 1920s, the Palace Theatre in Newark has been both a theatre and a picture house. With 600 seats split over two levels, eight exclusive boxes, and dedicated spaces for wheelchair users the Palace plays host to more than 150 live productions every year, covering everything from ballet to drama, children’s shows to comedy, and not forgetting its hugely successful annual pantomime. Completed in 2016 the extensive works to The Palace Theatre formed part of the larger scheme to bring together the Palace and the new National Civil War Centre with a modern visitor gateway forming a £1.6 million tourism hub. As part of the works a new all day café bar was opened, Nineteen20, providing a perfect place to relax in beautiful surroundings.

The works funded by Newark and Sherwood District Council promote everything that the local area has to offer. Construction firm RG Carter was appointed to complete the works which were phased over three periods to accommodate the performances that the theatre had booked, including the annual pantomime production.

Unusual Space

The principle contractor, RG Carter contacted KCM Catering Equipment to design the new kitchen space, this was slightly unusual as it was located beneath the auditorium seating, consequently the kitchen had a slanted roof, that on one side was little higher than the wall shelves. The kitchen was designed with this in mind and allowed the Palace Theatre team to move and work in all areas without the height of the roof being an issue. This was especially important in relation to the cookline ventilation and dishwash condense canopies along with the bespoke walk in chiller that was constructed to mirror the sloping ceiling. The location of the kitchen also proved to be a challenge during the installation, as with many buildings of the time the access was very limited, requiring careful planning and a larger installation team than normal to get all the equipment into the kitchen without causing damage to the building. The kitchen equipment was selected to fulfil the requirements of the Palace catering team, this included items from local manufacturer Lincat, alongside Meiko, Rational, Precision Refrigeration and Celltherm. In addition KCM provided an Ansul R-102 fire suppression system over the cookline to ensure the protection of the Grade II listed building and its occupants.

Alongside the main kitchen KCM Catering Equipment also designed and supplied the bar and foodservice counters that form the new all day café bar Nineteen20. Both areas not only had to be designed with normal daily use in mind, but also to cope with serving large numbers of people during short interval breaks. The fusion of both types of service, whilst maintaining the aesthetics were key to equipment selection. The bar was designed using the IMC Bartender modular bar system, this provides great flexibility for the venue alongside durability. The foodservice counter included equipment from Moffat, Merrychef and Instanta to cope with the demand.

Following the completion of the scheme KCM Catering Equipment Director Alistair White commented “The scheme at The Palace Theatre in Newark was a privilege to be involved in. The site is a very important one for the local community and the redevelopment alongside the new National Civil War Museum made it one of great significance. The project raised some unusual difficulties in terms of shape and access, however with good planning and working with the principle contractor these were overcome. The new kitchen and bar café will serve The Palace and its guests for many years to come.”