Derby’s Guildhall Theatre is to remain closed for a further eight months as it undergoes “essential maintenance works”.
Local theatre groups have branded the news a “huge blow” to the area’s cultural offer.
The venue was initially meant to close until the end of January while repairs were carried out on the roof, but Derby City Council has announced it will now go dark until the end of September as more extensive works are carried out to the ceiling.
A statement from the local authority said: “We hope to reopen the Guildhall Theatre after this, however, due to the nature of the work, we do not anticipate that this can be confirmed until May 2019.
“We’re sorry to cause any disappointment and inconvenience, but we have a duty to operate safely, which we take very seriously.”
Councillor Alan Grimadell, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “It’s very unfortunate that the Guildhall Theatre has to remain closed until autumn, but the priority has to be the safety of our staff, partners and customers.”
The council has said it is looking to relocate events where possible, however customers will be refunded for cancelled bookings.
According to Derby Arts and Theatre Association, which represents local amateur theatre groups, more than 60 professional and community bookings will be affected.
Steve Dunning, chair of DATA, said: “This is a major blow for the amateur theatre groups who have shows booked in the Guildhall during the period of closure.
“It is also another setback for the cultural offer of Derby, given that the Assembly Rooms has now been closed for almost five years, and that venue is not expected to reopen until Autumn 2020 at the earliest.”