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Hidden theatre at Alexandra Palace to be restored

Alexandra Palace, view from the theatre stage Alexandra Palace, view from the theatre stage
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A hidden Victorian theatre at Alexandra Palace will be repaired and restored after the venue was awarded an £18.8 million grant from Heritage Lottery Fund.

The plans are part of a larger refurbishment of the eastern section of the building that will also see the old BBC Studios turned into an interactive visitor attraction exploring the history of broadcast television using material from BBC archives.

With the funding for the project secured, the venue’s 140-year-old Victorian theatre will be refurbished for both commercial and community use. The space will be able to seat up to 1,300 people, as well as smaller numbers in more intimate audience configurations.

It is hoped the restored venue will host live theatre, cinema screenings, comedy, acoustic music and corporate entertainment.

Duncan Wilson, the chief executive of Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, said he was “thrilled” with the HLF grant.

He added: “Today marks a hugely positive and significant step in realising our aspirations to bring the Victorian Theatre and BBC Studios back to life and fulfil the potential of the palace and its remarkable history for the local community, visitors from all over the UK and overseas.”

HLF chief executive Carole Souter added: “Alexandra Palace has played a pivotal role in the development of popular entertainment – culminating in the birth of British television.

“The eastern end has stood derelict for 35 years but now Lottery funding is heralding a new chapter for this iconic building, creating an inspirational space where people can learn about its rich and colourful history.”

As part of the £26.7 million project, a “more welcoming” public entrance hall will also be created.

Haringey Council previously pledged £6.8 million towards the restoration, and APPCT has already committed to raising a £1 million contribution before work begins in 2016.

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