Plans to open a new 250-seat outdoor theatre in Brighton as a permanent home for professional touring groups are being developed.
Trustees behind the amphitheatre, which will be called Brighton Open Air Theatre, hope that it will be built at a park close to the city centre in time for next May.
The open-air venue is being developed according to plans left by local playwright and builder Adrian Bunting, who recently died.
At Bunting’s request, there will be an open artistic policy, in which professional productions will be selected by ballot.
The theatre is being privately funded, with £18,000 left by Bunting to kickstart the project.
It is expected to cost up to £50,000 to set up and will be run by local volunteers.
Ross Gurney Randall, a local writer and trustee of the theatre, said: “The problem with open-air theatre in Brighton in the past has been that issues with complaints from residents meant that the companies had to move on. Adrian wanted a specific site that didn’t annoy the neighbors and got round the two main bugbears of acoustics and light.”
He added: “What this theatre could create for Brighton is a venue where local groups – such as drama schools and [local theatre club] New Venture – could collaborate. It will also bring in quality touring shows from other bits of the country that otherwise wouldn’t be seen here.”
A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council, which owns the suggested site for the theatre – Dyke Road Park – said it is in discussions with local groups to develop the space.
He said: “We’re aware of several ideas being put forward for the former bowling green area in Dyke Road Park. We look forward to listening to the details of the suggested projects.”
A fundraising gig, featuring comedians Stewart Lee and Mark Thomas, will take place on June 16 at Brighton Dome.