Chichester Festival Theatre has received a grant of £1.2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards its redevelopment project.
The HLF grant will support the restoration of the grade-II listed theatre, which will include re-instating 100 seats in the balconies, removing additional extensions made to the original 1962 building and adding extra dressing rooms, office space and backstage technical facilities. There will also be extra toilets and improved disabled access.
It will also help fund the introduction of a three-year community participation programme due to start in January 2013.
Demolition of the theatre’s office areas started in October of this year, with building works expected to begin in January.
Following planning permission being granted from Chichester District Council to build a temporary 1,400-seat tent nearby, CFT plans to stage productions in this new space alongside shows in the Minerva Theatre during the building works.
The venue’s total fundraising efforts now amount to around £21 million, leaving £1 million left to find.
Stuart McLeod, head of the HLF in the south-east, said: “Chichester Festival Theatre is a fantastic example of 20th century architecture which has delighted, educated and entertained generations of theatre-goers.
“Its fascinating history is tightly interwoven with the social history and culture of Chichester. We are delighted to add our support to a project which will not only ensure the building’s survival but will also inspire and involve people of all ages for years to come.”