Model train runs through refurbished bar at the Norwich Playhouse Theatre

The model train in the refurbished bar at the Playhouse in Norwich

The model train in the refurbished bar at the Playhouse in Norwich - Credit: Archant

A model train set forms the centre piece of the quirky refurbishment of one of Norwich's most artistic bars.

The model train in the refurbished bar at the Playhouse in Norwich

The model train in the refurbished bar at the Playhouse in Norwich - Credit: Archant

Staff at the Norwich Playhouse theatre's bar, on St George's Street, designed the first major overhaul of the venue since it opened in 1995, and have spent the last two weeks turning their vision into reality.

Nathan Clarke, the supervisor behind the bar, who also works as a lighting technician at the theatre itself, said: 'We recently got taken back into ownership by the Theatre Royal, who are putting money back into the bar.

'With the investment, all the bar staff used their skills to build the bar.

'Mostly we wanted to be as creative and artistic as you can be. A lot of us are students from the art school, so we bring that flair.'


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Most of the work was carried out by bar staff themselves, including two who taught themselves woodwork skills to create the new, extended bar, which includes a working model railway built into it.

They also had help from professional builders Wroxham Exteriors.

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Mr Clarke said: 'We always wanted to put a train track on the ceiling, but the physics behind that were not on our side, so we put it into the bar top instead. We had never seen that before.'

He said staff had been given free reign over what the bar should be like, and they were proud of the results. He added: 'Most bars would not let you even use a hammer. It's quite special.'

Other changes include new landscaping on the terrace, and custom-painted furniture, and the old bar top has been reused as a counter behind the new bar.

One aim was to open the venue up, and make it easier to encourage patrons of the theatre, as well as members of the general public, to use it.

Mr Clarke said customers' reaction had been positive since it re-opened yesterday, and added: 'A lot of people are saying it's a lot more spacious, and that it all seems a lot more open, even though we have extended the bar. Everyone is freaking out over the train in the bar.'

Do you have a story about a local business? Email locallife@archant.co.uk

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