Where Charity and Art collide
Subject to ticket
Going to the theatre as an adult is a bit like going to Mcdonald's as a child: you’re happy to go because it doesn’t really matter what you’re going to get and if you tell someone you've been, chances are they will be impressed.
I enjoy the theatrics of going to the theatre for a number of reasons. Firstly, It’s usually reserved for relatively special occasions and not every show is shown in every theatre.
Secondly, shows usually start at a strange time of day, meaning you might have to take the day off from work, or leave bang on time to make the start, hammering home the specialness of the occasion.
So if you're looking to spend a special occasion at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, what should you expect to find?
Well the first thing you’ll find depends entirely on which door you enter. From one you will be greeted with the oasis that is the B2 bar, whilst the alternative entrance greets you with the in-house café.
These two spots are like light and day however, with the café being pitched as a leisurely, all day spot that you can turn up to without any reason, whilst the bar is only open around show times.
Like any self-respecting mid-sized theatre, Belgrade is two tiered with an upper level bar open to those (on a show night) with a ticket to the upper level.
Seating inside the theatre’s main stage, I am happy to report that there are no dreaded blind spots, curtains or posts stopping from you or your date from viewing the stage; a wonder of post WWII architectural engineering.
This marvel of modern engineering does mean that seats do come at a premium however as this medium sized theatre proudly hosts over 800 people at full capacity.
There’s clearly been a lot of thought that has gone into the size vs. capacity argument in the design of the main stage seating area. Now whilst the seats aren’t the most well cushioned or supportive, The smaller seats means that the seating arrangement does not need to be tiered at an extreme angle, meaning you can practically walk to your seat without a single step impeding you. It does therefore mean that should you or your date have limited mobility, Belgrade should be a pleasure.
Wheelchair user or not though, these seats aren't the most comfortable; so whilst there is excellent leg room (even if you are taller than 6ft), it’s not enough to stop your bum from going numb or your lower back from cramping if it is particularly sensitive. Now this isn’t a fault specific to Belgrave- in my experience almost every higher-end/West End theatre suffers from this uncomfortable seating dilemma. In Belgrave’s defence though, the seats do hold up well until the 40minute mark before you start shuffling.
So on my side note, I make this plea to any Auditorium designers out there: Please make the seats more like cinema seats. Please stop relying on the intermission to make sub-comfortable seats. Thank you.
The auditory experience in the auditorium is probably the most important aspect of any performance, as no matter how far you are from the stage, you should always be able to follow the lines. Thankfully, Belgrade does a fair job of this, with a well worked and clear surround sound system that left no audible dead zones and allowed me to keep up with the pace of the play. In truth, it’s exactly what I had expected from a theatre of this size, so whilst it’s not disappointing; I’ve not been wowed either.
The Belgrade Theatre does offer three hotels for you to stay at should you decide to plan your trip around two days in Coventry, and whilst the ‘Ramada Hotel & Suites’, ‘Hilton Hotels and Resorts’ and ‘Coombe Abbey’ each come in at different price points and proximity to the Theatre, it is unclear if a discount is offered if you book your stay and reference Belgrade.
In the end, if you find yourself taking the time out to enjoy the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, know that I’m expecting you to have an enjoyable time. With a range of food and drinks available at the Café and Bar, your time here doesn’t have to revolve around the show. Instead, you can very easily make your trip to the theatre a social visit, one where the two of you can share your time together in relative comfort.
However, I’d fully recommend that the two of you maximise your time during the intermission- your behinds will thank you.
A lovely and bright atmosphere, extenuated with the glass framework which wraps the building.
No blind spots, whether that is visually or audibly.
Easy to get around for Wheelchair users and those who hate stairs.
Café offers hot and cold food, with drinks on tap too.
An easy location to get to as it’s right on the edge of the town centre.
Relatively small size means each showing has an exclusive feel- also means you’re not waiting forever and an age to leave once the performance has finished.
Seating arrangement means you shouldn’t get vertigo just trying to look at the stage.
That feeling of becoming a more cultured human being by simply being here.
- Uncomfortable seating.
- Limited access to parts of the theatre.
- Bar isn’t always open, so don’t try and substitute the pub crawl if you wanted a drink or two.