February 15th, 2018|


LEICESTER’S Haymarket Theatre, re-opening as a multi-purpose venue this spring, has given design students from DeMontfort University the chance to get their hands on the theatre’s iconic dressing rooms, with the help of sponsor Dunelm’s entire catalogue.

Over three decades, the dressing rooms have played host to artists such as Julie Walters, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Sir Ian McKellan, Alan Rickman, John Thaw, Robert Lindsay, Elaine Page and Kevin Whately. Now, as part of the Haymarket’s commitment to engaging with local education, Design for Performance students Sasha Bahra (20), Nancy Rainsford (20) and Ashleigh Smith (19) have designed the interior of two of the backstage rooms, which will play host to future generations of performers.

DMU Lecturer Kate Unwin said: Design for Performance is a module on the Interior Design degree which gives students the opportunity to work on real-life projects whilst studying. I did a lot of work as a set and costume designer at the old Haymarket Theatre so it’s really exciting to be able to give students the opportunity to design the changing rooms. It’s going to be great for them and for Leicester to see the theatre be brought back to life.”

Fiona Lambert, Product Director at Dunelm, added: “Haymarket Theatre is a focal point in Leicester’s history and it will be fantastic to see it up and running again. As a local business, we’re delighted to be supporting such an important initiative for the city. It’s also very exciting to be working with design students from De Montfort University and helping to bring their ideas to life.”

Last year City Mayor Peter Soulsby announced his intention to support Haymarket Consortium Limited’s proposal to re-open the city centre venue by investing £3.6million in the building. The Haymarket Consortium are a group of individuals brought together from a variety of backgrounds to tackle the challenge of bringing the building back into use. The consortium comprises Chris Knight (technical/training), Jed Spittle (financial/artistic), John Jenkins (premises/licensee), Ellyn Phillips (training/artistic) and Natalie Cheary (PR/marketing).

Director Jed Spittle said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing the old theatre back into use as a fully-equipped professional performance and training venue. Partnerships with local businesses such as Dunelm and DMU are essential in our aim to make the whole city feel part of this really exciting journey.”

The Haymarket will be hired out as a venue for theatre productions, esports tournaments, live music, awards, parties and conferences. The main auditorium will be refurbished with 900 new seats, sound desks and lighting systems, as well as the installation of a café, licensed bar and TV gallery. The foyer, studio theatre and entrance areas will be modernised, while retaining the original feel of the old Haymarket Theatre.

Dunelm will furnish the remaining dressing rooms. Dunelm is the UK’s number one homewares retailer  with over 150 stores nationwide and an online webstore offering a wide range of own brand homeware, as well as premium brands such as Dorma and Fogarty. Dunelm was founded in 1979 as a market stall business, with the first shop opening in Leicester in 1984.

For more information please contact Natalie Cheary on 07768 261 526 or [email protected]