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The Marlowe: Royal Gala Opening

This was an emotional evening for the hundreds of people who'd all played their part in the planning, fundraising and building of a magnificent new theatre in the heart of Kent.

We've been lucky enough to be a part of The Marlowe team for many months. Through workshops and meetings we've met many of the key players in the project to build this iconic new building. So it felt very special to step into the finished auditorium, for the first time, to share in their celebrations.

The performance was a concert of operatic arias with The Philharmonia, a resident orchestra at The Marlowe Theatre. The music was wonderful, the singing was great (especially the soprano, Carmen Giannattasio) but the highlight of the evening was the speeches. No, it's not something I usually look foward to either.

In paticular it was great to hear the leader of the Canterbury Council telling the story of the nine-year journey of planning. He explained how, despite the economic pressures, the Council had maintained cross-party support for the project. And he explained how each year, The Marlowe Theatre will generate a financial input to the city, equivalent to the £25M capital costs of the building. A real example to other local authorities.

It's been a pleasure to work with The Marlowe team and play a small part in the success of this project.

The Marlowe: Royal Gala Opening

A portrait of Michael Smith, in black and white

it felt very special to step into the finished auditorium, for the first time, to share in their celebrations.

Michael Smith
Banners hung outside The Marlowe Night time photo of The Marlowe, showing the flytower lit with purple light Three digital poster displays A portable ice-cream fridge, decorated with The Marlowe branding The Duke and Duchess of Kent, on stage at The Marlowe Theatre

5 slideshow images (click image to view)