Popped along to the opening evening of the Cheesegrater last night (also know as The Quarterhouse), Folkestone's new flagship venue. It's alright! It seems a bit stark inside, but then there were only a few invited guests inside (er, people who had expressed some kind of interest online, or who had just walked in off the street). When it's heaving with a crowd of 500 it will be a different matter. It has fine modern facilities for teh putting on of performances, including a MAD bed spring like safety net ceiling that the techs and lighting engineers can bound across to change lights and things. Every show will look like that Cirque de Soleil show I went to with the performers bouncing off the ceiling...
The venue is split into many parts, the downstairs performance space converts at the flick of a switch from banked theatre seats to an open 500 capacity "concrete box within a concrete box" so should be able to suit comedy, theatre and gigs nicely. Upstairs (perhaps most importantly) is the bar. It is Bar Vasa who are running it, all seemed quite slick, they are doing food, and there were many tables reserved. Not sure what's behind the bar, they were serving jolly nice complimentary fizz, apart from that there were standard gig venue taps for Carling, Strongbow, and some kind of actual beer! Something Masterbrew like I expect but I didn't recognise it. I almost look forward to giving it a try, it will sustain me between real ales.
Other things I learned (mostly from a little speech by chief exec and creative director Nick Ewbank) are that the architects who designed it have not done another public building before this one (sounds like they are very nice), that the fist big event (BBC Kent Introducing) did not quite fill the venue, and that there is a comedy festival lined up for May. I will get more details from my contacts!
I really had to sprint round in order to be back to make dinner, so did not have time to say hello to anyone. Sorry!
UPDATE: Here is someone's video from the "bed spring like safety net ceiling" I mentioned: