There will be a special preview weekend ahead of 29 September
Having postponed its original May 2020 opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Box will now open on Friday 25, Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September with a special preview weekend for Plymouth residents who took part in a ballot earlier this year. It will then be open to the public from Tuesday 29 September.
The Box is the largest multi-disciplinary arts and heritage space to open in the UK in 2020. As a key element of Plymouth's 'Resurgam' programme, its launch now symbolises Plymouth's recovery and sets the direction for positive change in the local economy and life of the city as it moves through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally three separate buildings, The Box's ground-breaking design has completely transformed, extended and combined Plymouth's former City Museum and Art Gallery, Central Library building and St Luke's Church to create a cutting-edge, interactive cultural centre with 13 new galleries and exhibition spaces, a striking elevated archive, learning and research facilities and a brand new public square.
In preparation for opening, The Box has put a number of safety and social distancing measures in place to help visitors feel as comfortable as possible. These include:
1. Free admission by advance ticket only
2. Reduced capacity and clearly marked one way systems in key areas of circulation
3. Increased invigilation by staff and volunteers
4. Hand sanitising facilities and enhanced cleaning
5. A temporary reduction in on site events alongside an enhanced digital offer
In line with government guidance, the wearing of face coverings will be encourage for all visitors over 11 years and mandatory in the retail area.
Tudor Evans OBE, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said:
"This is such an exciting moment for the city and it's fantastic to finally be able to announce these dates. The Box is a vital part of our recovery programme and it feels like it's been a long time coming now. Staff have worked so hard over the last few months to maintain momentum and keep the public engaged with the project.
"They've also put in a huge effort to respond to the current government guidelines to ensure that everyone who visits will have a safe and enjoyable experience. I hope everyone is as proud and excited as I am and can't wait for the doors to open. In our post-lockdown world The Box is going to be a place where people can reconnect with each other, Plymouth's history and its future."
Paul Brookes, Interim CEO said:
"The main focus for our launch preparations is the safety of our visitors and staff and the quality of the access and experience we'll provide. We're thrilled that we've been able to move the dates of our exhibition programme without making any fundamental changes to our vision, and continue to fit out our permanent galleries without making too many compromises.
"With a reduced visitor capacity on site those who feel able to come in during our first few weeks will get the chance to enjoy an amazing, almost private-view level experience. We can't wait to see what people think."