Welcome back to Otley Courthouse

At Otley Courthouse, like many other venues we are continuing to adapt and change to the revised and modified guidelines as and when they are announced.

Since our phased re-opening back in July the Maker Space has continued its sterling work producing various items of PPE, and we have continued to run a Covid 19 volunteer support system whilst re-opening the Courthouse to the public.

Room hirers are back – and we have been working with them on a regular basis to ensure that social distancing  is always possible.

In terms of events we have run films, and recordings of live events and have even begun to offer live music, all of  which have been very well received.

The overall aim, is to continue to do everything that we can to ensure that your Courthouse is here as a venue when things are totally back to normal.

To that end please continue to read our updated COVID secure guidelines below so you know what to expect when you arrive.  These reflect the new tier 2 regulations that came into force during October 2020.

When you come to the Courthouse for a programmed event things will, necessarily, be a little different. We thought we’d give you a quick ‘tour’ of what you’ll find and hope that you’ll think, as we do, that an event at Otley Courthouse will be both enjoyable (of course) and safe.

We are asking all audience members to do the following:

  • Bring a mask and wear it (except when you’re having a drink!).  Face coverings must be worn when not eating or drinking unless you are participating in an organised event, at 2m distancing, following Covid secure guidelines.
  • Book online, and book seats starting at the end of your selected row and moving inwards. We are not yet at the stage where we can run our usual Courthouse Reception Box Office – either in person or over the phone – so we will have to use on-line booking at first (with its 50p charge on a £5 ticket). As soon as our usual Box Office arrangements are up and running we’ll let you know. After you have booked, the box office system will automatically block off two seats to each side of you/your group to ensure at least 1m distancing (and we are leaving alternate rows empty). A booking in the middle of a row will significantly reduce flexibility for subsequent ticket bookers, and cut our income from the event – hence our request to book from row ends. It would help enormously if you could think about how your seat booking will affect the flexibility for subsequent bookings – but don’t stress! We are expecting to seat around 40 people – rather than our usual 100 for film events.
  • Due to ‘Group of six’ regulations please only book seats for people from your household. Your friends can also, of course, book separately – but they will be seated separately from you.
  • We are required to remind Courthouse users only to socialise with their household group or bubble.
  • Please don’t attend the event if you feel ill or have a temperature.
  • Use a card for payment (for the bar or on-the-door tickets).
  • Use our hand sanitiser stations, and soap and hot water in the toilets.
  • Sit only in the numbered seat that you have booked.
  • Follow our one-way system and signage in the building.
  • We are no longer permitted to provide table service & we are also not allowed to run a bar.  This is a big revenue hit for ourselves.  You can bring your own drinks to events and we invite you to make a corkage donation.
  • QR posters for the Test and Trace app are displayed.  Please remember to scan the code using the NHS mobile app on arrival at the Courthouse.
  • We are required to close at 10pm unless it is a music, theatre or film event (etc) which began before 10pm. This will not happen very often – but it is allowed.
  • We will keep Courthouse users’ contact details securely for 21 days in case they are needed for Track and Trace purposes.

Your visit will work like this:

  • There will be a marked queuing line from Courthouse Street to the Robing Room door (opposite the usual entrance). Wheelchair users can enter via the adjacent blue fire door. We’ll have a Courthouse volunteer meeting and greeting in case you have any questions. Please have your tickets and card (for bar payments) ready. Bring a brolly if it looks like it might be useful – we can’t let you shelter in the foyer because of distancing requirements but if everyone has their tickets and card ready we’ll get you in pretty quickly.
  • If there are leftover tickets you will be able to enter the Courthouse foyer through the side door to purchase a ticket from Reception (card payment). Please then retrace your steps into the Courtyard and join the marked queue.
  • If you would like to purchase a drink, a bar will be set up in the Robing Room with a reduced range of drinks (but all the favourites) and card payment. Glasses will be available in the Courtroom.
  • If you do not want anything from the bar you will be able to go straight through the door from the Robing Room to the Courtroom.
  • In the Courtroom your tickets will be checked, you can pick up a glass for your drink(s), and a volunteer will be on hand to help serve teas and coffees. Cash payment but no change handling allowed – so have some £1 coins.
  • Your seat numbers and row letters will be marked. For films we will be using Rows C and E on the flat, Rows F, H and J on the tiered seating, and just one Row on the balcony (part K and part L). Numbers run from left to right as you look at the seating with your back to the film screen. Seat numbers 8 and lower are to the left of the gangway and seat numbers 11 and higher are to the right of the gangway.
  • Access to the balcony is by using the door to the rear of the Courtroom and then up the stairs on the right in the lobby.
  • If you wish to use the toilets we have fixed ‘Vacant / Occupied’ signs for the downstairs toilets. We are asking audience members to slide the signs from Vacant to Occupied as they go into the toilet, and slide it back to Vacant as they leave (after the usual hand washing ritual!). Men can go straight from the Courtroom to use the Male and Disabled toilets which have Vacant/Occupied signs on the doors. Wait in front of Reception if both are Occupied. The two Vacant / Occupied signs for the Ladies’ toilet (it’s a bigger toilet room men – sorry!) are on the pink wall opposite the lobby exit – so that you can see if there is one or two Vacant cubicles (we’re not opening the middle cubicle) before you go any further. If both are Occupied please wait on the right hand side of the lobby – there will be a chair or two.
  • When you leave the toilet please do not retrace your steps. Slide the sign back to Vacant and then go back via Reception (hand sanitiser available) through the inner main exit door, and then through the Pink fire doors on your left and back into the Courtroom.
  • If you are on the balcony please go through the Art Room (door at the top of the stairs) to the toilets on the first floor – and return the same way.
  • At the end of the film, or in the case of an alarm, the House Manager will dismiss the audience on the floor seating in the Courtroom first – through the blue fire door (or use the toilets if you wish of course), and then the tiered seating – all one row at a time (E, C, F, H, J – in that order). The audience on the balcony can see themselves out down the stairs, through the Pink fire doors and out of the main door.


Otley Courthouse is a unique development run by people in Otley, West Yorkshire. After an eight year development period we transformed a redundant nineteenth century magistrates court into a unique arts and resource centre for our community.

Find out about the history of Otley Courthouse by visiting the Heritage section of our website.


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Otley Courthouse, Courthouse Street, Otley, West Yorkshire LS21 3AN

Telephone: 01943 467466 email: admin@otleycourthouse.org.uk

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