An historic theatre in Cheltenham has been given the green light to undergo a multi-million pound redevelopment, to transform it into a hub for performing arts communities.
The board of trustees for the Cheltenham Playhouse recently secured planning permission to modernise the Grade II listed building and performance spaces in 2020, which will be the 75th anniversary of its rebirth as an iconic theatre.
While the small auditorium will remain untouched, a double-height atrium will be created to open up the heart of the venue and provide permanent heritage displays and a cafe.
Additional upgrades will include more flexible, affordable spaces for hire, for workshops, events and meetings to rehearsals and small-scale theatre productions. Plus, relocating the public entrance and box office to improve accessibility and visitor experience.
Malcolm Ball, Chair of the Trustees, said: “We are thrilled to have secured planning permission to bring Cheltenham Playhouse into the 21st Century and ensure it can be enjoyed and accessed by everyone for many more years to come.
“While these plans have been in the pipeline for the past two years, now we have been given the go ahead and estimated our fundraising target of £4million, we have set to work on applying for grants and funding, both locally and nationally, to bring our vision to life.
“The new and improved Cheltenham Playhouse will be a welcome addition to the vibrant Bath Road area, and we will announce our next steps and capital development fundraising strategy in due course.”
The board has been working with Pershore-based specialist heritage architects, Poole Phillips, as well as archaeologists, to ensure the redevelopment plans are sensitive to the patchwork of historic developments going back more than 200 years.
The board of trustees now have five years in which to complete the works. Cheltenham Borough Council which owns the building has agreed to a new 25-year lease.