On the final night before the theatre in Caen closes on 01 July there will be a free performance of the baroque opera Venus and Adonis in English. At the end of the evening the audience will be offered a glass of wine in the foyer with music from the Priscilia Valdazo jazz trio.
The most urgent piece of major work is the replacement of the stage mechanisms which are too old for the complex scenery changes needed for modern productions. The lightening rigs also need changed so that they can cope with the 300 to 400 lights that are suspended above the stage.
Other work includes creating 20 places for disabled people, installing new seats, new rest facilities, new fire escapes and new backstage ventilation. A technical room will be built on the roof, new warming up areas created for dancers and changing rooms refurbished.
The theatre, the first of its size in lower Normandy which had a record 135,000 spectators in 2011/2012, has doubled its audience in the last 12 years. This will be the most work undertaken since it was built in 1963.
It will re-open in January 2015 but theatre goers will not be deprived as there are plans for the 2014/2014 season to take place in different locations in the city. The programme includes 60 shows including a ballet in honour of the World Equestrian Games which are being held in Normandy next year.
Its Director Patrick Foll is credited with widening the scope of entertainment, bringing in musical theatre and other performing arts and its repertoire now includes theatre, dance, concerts, musicals, film, circus acts and jazz.
The main theatre in Caen was destroyed during the bombing on the city in June 1944 and the present building was not built until well after the Second World War, opening its doors in 1963. It was partly funded by war reparations.