New Innovation for Theatre

A revision of cleaning management and training is resulting in better and improved outcomes for a chain of 10 prestigious regional theatres operated by HQ Theatres & Hospitality (HQT&HHQ) across the south of the UK.

The roster includes unique and well-known venues such as The Wycombe Swan, Watford Colosseum, The Cliffs Pavilion in Southend and Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre and Arts Centre. Ensuring audiences, staff and production casts are happy in equal measure falls to incumbent contractor, Exclusive Contract Services. “We’ve been getting very positive reviews from general managers for many of these sites,” says contract manager, Paul Burton. “We’re complimented for managing our staff who have taken to our training programme so well and so effectively for which we thank them. Collectively, we are creating environments that simply look refreshed and remain that way for longer. And at the end of the day, that’s a significant part of what we’re here for.” It was not always so. Says Paul: “When we took the HQ Theatres contract on, the staff  wanted direction as they seemed stuck in the same routine, day after day. Now, ten months on, we have people fully-motivated, fully-trained and adapting to meet the specific cleaning requirements of each site.” HQT&HHQ have a proven track record of successfully managing and operating theatres and other cultural venues with high-quality programmes, including multi-purpose venues with conference and events programmes. Paul explains: “With each theatre being so unique in terms of building structure, fabrics, location and clientele, we moved away from the traditional ‘one cleaning specification fits all’ approach and commenced tailoring each individual site’s cleaning requirements to be dedicated to task based on projections and footfall.”

One of Exclusive’s priorities when securing a new contract is to ensure the company gets the cleaners working the ‘Exclusive Way’, the name for the company’s newly-designed interactive training platform. It’s designed to recognise Exclusive’s most valuable asset, its people, and ensure that they not only with the tools for the job, but most importantly the ongoing and updated skills to use them correctly. “Whether new to the business or long-standing employees, everyone at Exclusive is currently undertaking training via the platform, under the overall guidance of our Group Training Manager,” says Paul. Exclusive fields a total of 70 staff to the HQT&HHQ contract. “One of our foremost initiatives has been working with each theatre manager or director to tailor the specification to meet their own unique building and projection requirements,” says Paul. As an example, one team works at the Wycombe Swan, a thriving entertainment complex within the heart of High Wycombe town centre with an unrivalled array of adaptable spaces. Paul remarks: “As a result of the relationship and working together, the Wycombe Swan management have brought forward site re-development because they are now confident that the process will be supported by the cleaning team.”


What are the day-to-challenges of cleaning theatres? 

“I would say unpredictability is our biggest challenge, not so much with audiences but the cast members in the productions,” responds Exclusive contract manager, Paul Burton.

“You never know what is going to be required by staff and in the dressing rooms! And with productions changing weekly in some cases, it makes it all the more challenging.”

“Changes to productions can happen quickly, so a key part here is ensuring that a close relationship with venue management is maintained via monthly site meetings,” he continues.

“Dark Days, the term used for when the theatres are closed or simply quiet, can be of significant benefit where planned for, as we can get on with periodic tasks like deep cleans.”

Building strong relationships with individual managers and thereby learning more about the HQ Theatres culture, business and operation is ensuring Exclusive Contract Services continues to deliver a great service and even better value.

“I like to think that when the curtain rises, everyone is happy and very comfortable in an HQ Theatre – and not least of all its appearance and hygiene,” says Paul.


Cleaning at HQ – Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre

Some of the UK’s best touring theatre alongside locally produced work can be enjoyed at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon, one of 10 HQ Theatres venues cleaned by Exclusive Contract Services. With excellent sightlines and seat legroom, it’s a favourite of theatre companies and audiences alike. In addition to the theatre, the Wyvern also boasts a rehearsal studio, function room and meeting rooms – all available to hire for any event.


About The Exclusive Group

In addition to leisure environments, Exclusive Contract Services is a specialist in cleaning retail, media & leisure, logistics, education, pharmaceutical and commercial spaces.

Accredited to standards ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO/IEC 27001 and OHSAS 18001, Hatfield-based Exclusive operates its own dedicated learning & development centre on behalf of BICS (British Institute of Cleaning Science) from its Swindon office, delivering industry-recognised qualification courses to all company staff and management. The company is also a founding member of The Exclusive Services Group. In January 2016, the Group acquired Brayborne Facilities Services as part of a programme of strategic growth devised to expand the scope of the Group’s service offer. Founded in 1995, offering a wide range of bespoke professional cleaning and facility support services to retail, education, commercial and public sector clients, Brayborne also offers an in-house specialist division with specialisms including external, data centre and kitchen/wet area cleaning.