Look! Sneak peek inside Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre. - Credit: Matt Adams

The waiting is almost over, and with days to go before Harpenden's new events venue - the Eric Morecambe Centre (EMC) - opens its doors, the Herts Ad has enjoyed a look inside.

The centre, which includes a 511-seat theatre, will be officially opened by St Albans Mayor Cllr Edgar Hill on Saturday October 16, joined by members of the Morecambe family and Harpenden Mayor Cllr Paul Cousin.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium. - Credit: Matt Adams

The EMC was constructed on the site of the former sports centre in Rothamsted Park to replace ageing Harpenden Public Halls as part of a £20 million project.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium. - Credit: Matt Adams

Eric was a Harpenden resident at the height of his international fame as a comedy double act alongside Ernie Wise.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main dressing room.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main dressing room. - Credit: Matt Adams

The EMC’s theatre boasts state-of-the-art production equipment to allow major touring shows to be staged as well as those put on by local groups, and band Brand New Heavies visited the venue recently for a special pre-opening gig to test the equipment.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the green room.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the green room. - Credit: Matt Adams


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There is also an exhibition space with two functions rooms, a history room, bars on two floors and a coffee shop with views across the popular local park.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the smaller bar.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the smaller bar. - Credit: Matt Adams

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium. - Credit: Matt Adams

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium. - Credit: Matt Adams

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the auditorium. - Credit: Matt Adams

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main function suite.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main function suite. - Credit: Matt Adams

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main function suite.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main function suite. - Credit: Matt Adams

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main bar.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main bar. - Credit: Matt Adams

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main bar.

Harpenden's new Eric Morecambe Centre - the main bar. - Credit: Matt Adams

The public halls will be redeveloped by the district council with plans due to be submitted shortly for approval as mixed residential and commercial space.

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Cllr Robert Donald, chair of the council’s business and regeneration committee, said: “I am sure residents of Harpenden and the surrounding area will be hugely impressed with the new culture centre.

“I would urge them to come along for the official opening, have a look around and take part in some of the activities that have been lined up. It will be a memorable, action-packed day for everyone of all ages and interests.

“I am absolutely certain the EMC is going to be welcomed and extensively used by local residents across the district and beyond as a first-class cultural replacement for the Harpenden Public Halls within a very short period of opening.

“The EMC will be a place for creativity and expression which I believe Eric would have really enjoyed. It will also provide a permanent home, archive centre and exhibition space for the Harpenden History Society."

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