A £4 million plan to redevelop the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth has moved a step closer, after the venue received £350,000 towards its regeneration.
The money was awarded to the theatre by two separate organisations – the Monument Trust and the Foyle Foundation – and will be put towards its Regeneration Project, which is expected to begin early next year.
This will see the rebuilding of the theatre’s stage house, which was destroyed by a fire in the 70s, new dressing rooms installed, and the introduction of a creative learning space, which will be dedicated to the memory of director and writer Anthony Minghella.
The venue’s plans will also see its capacity increased from 500 to 700 seats.
NTR director Caroline Sharman said: “We are truly delighted to receive this funding from two of the country’s largest family trusts and foundations. Their support of the theatre’s vision and the impact and benefits the redevelopment will have on Portsmouth and the surrounding areas recognises this as a project on a national scale.”
She said the redevelopment plans would allow the theatre – which is predominantly a receiving house – to use the new creative learning space to produce more of its own work.
The space will also be used by local amateur drama companies and by students at the University of Portsmouth.
As part of the rebuild, the university will also have new buildings at the rear of the theatre to house its performing arts faculty.
As well as the £350,000 announced today, the theatre has received funding from a variety of bodies, including the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is also due to receive £750,000 from Arts Council England.
When it closes for 18 months to allow the redevelopment to take place, Sharman said the theatre would present work in other locations around the city.