Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has backed plans for a £41 million theatre in the centre of the town.
Thirty councillors voted for the project to move to the planning stage, 13 voted against, and three abstained from voting in a meeting on December 6.
The 1,200-seat theatre will be part of a civic development project, which will also include a civic centre, an underground car park, and new office space.
Leader of the council David Jukes said: “This is the decision we have been working for and I am grateful for the support of residents, businesses, councillors and staff who have been able to see the benefits of the scheme being proposed.
“We now have an amazing opportunity to secure the future of the borough as a cultural centre and provide a real boost for the local economy.”
Subject to planning approval, the development will be built at the entrance to Calverley Grounds park. While it is built, the Assembly Hall Theatre, which was declared unfit for purpose in 2014 , will remain open.
However when building work is finished, the new venue will replace the Assembly Hall.
A planning application is expected to be submitted in spring 2018.