Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal rebuild to start spring 2013

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Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal will begin its £4 million redevelopment project early next year after being awarded the final £750,000 funding it required from Arts Council England.

The venue’s Regeneration Project will include increasing the auditorium size from 500 to 700 seats, reinstating the stage and introducing a creative learning space, dedicated to director and writer Anthony Minghella.

Local amateur drama companies and students at the University of Portsmouth will be able to use the learning space and the venue also hopes to use this new facility to produce more of its own work.

Building work will begin inside the theatre from February, with expected completion within 18 months.

Earlier this year, the theatre received £350,000 from two separate organisations – the Monument Trust and the Foyle Foundation. It has also received funding from other bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Caroline Sharman, New Theatre Royal’s executive director, said: "We are thrilled that finally this iconic theatre can at last be restored.

“Our fabulous new building with its new creative space dedicated to the life of Oscar-winning writer and director Antony Minghella will open the door on a new and exciting era of live theatre, bringing to Portsmouth the very best of drama, dance, comedy and music, alongside high quality work based learning opportunities for all.”