REFURBISHMENT work at Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre has fallen well behind schedule, throwing the new entertainment programme into chaos.
Both venues were expected to open at the start of next month, but North Lanarkshire Council has conceded defeat with the proposed timetable.
The authority now anticipates the complex to be open by the end of November after ‘structural problems’ hindered progress.
The delay has caused a major headache for local groups and national productions that had booked October and early-November dates before plans went pear-shaped.
Local shows including those from Our Lady’s Light Opera, the Jazzart UK Stage Dance and Musical Theatre group and the NL Schools Music Group have now been postponed.
Comedian Des McLean and country and folk musician Charlie Landsborough are also among those expected to reschedule for some time next year.
Craig Smart, venue operations manager, said: “Unfortunately, due to various structural problems with the ongoing refurbishment works at the concert hall, we have been forced to cancel our planned autumn programme. The problems have been resolved, but it has resulted in a later handover date.
“We fully understand the frustrations of the groups concerned and we are working to provide them with suitable alternative venues or arrangements.
“Clearly we very disappointed, but believe the improvements we are making will bring significant long term benefits. We still intend for the pantomime to run as planned.”
Members of the Our Lady’s Light Opera group said they were ‘devastated’ after learning the plug had been pulled on the autumn programme.
The group had booked the theatre for its Show Boat production from November 7 to 12, and is now considering dates for next year.
Business manager Laurie Thompson said: “This is rather devastating news for us, it’s a huge disappointment. We had been repeatedly assured by the council that it would be open, we wouldn’t have embarked on months of rehearsals otherwise.
“There will be some financial loss for us, though the council has hinted there may be some compensation, but this hasn’t been calculated yet.
“There has been substantial bookings for the show, our block bookings were starting to come through, and our ticket manager has been working to refund the money.
“An alternative venue would be out of the question, as we couldn’t consider putting on a show of this size anywhere other than the Civic. At this moment in time, the dates will most likely be changed to towards the end of February.”
He added: “Although we are disappointed in the situation, we hope this does not reflect badly on our friends at the Civic as it is really out of their hands.”
Other affected events are - the Volunteer Agency North Lanarkshire Awards, the Scottish Auto Cycle Union Awards, Tony Jacobs, Over the Rainbow, JJ Gilmour, An Evening with Peter Allis, Bon Jovi Experience, Joe Longthorne, Rockin’ on Heavens Door and Guitar Anthems.