A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to bring the derelict Derby Hippodrome back into use as a theatre by 2020.
The restoration of the venue by campaign group the Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust will take place in two phases, costing £25 million overall.
Phase one will cost £5 million and will involve clearing and stabilising the building, rebuilding the external walls and front of house and replacing the roof.
This will result in a functional space, with a capacity of around 1,000, for use by touring companies, amateur groups and schools. The aim is to complete this part of the renovation by 2020.
DHRT has launched a public fundraising campaign, which aims to raise at least £22,500 towards the renovation.
The trust is currently in the process of securing other funding from heritage charities and national arts funding bodies.
Once the first phase of the renovation is complete and the theatre is beginning to generate its own income, DHRT will start fundraising for phase two of the project, which will include a tiered auditorium, new backstage infrastructure for larger productions and a rooftop restaurant.
Chair of the trust Joan Travis said: “It’s the moment for a big push for the Hippodrome. There are currently no viable large performance spaces in Derby.
“A renovated theatre in a derelict area of the city will be answering the government’s drive to attract people to our city centres, breathing life back into them and encouraging spending.”
The grade II-listed Derby Hippodrome has been derelict since 2007. The venue was built in 1914 and was used as a theatre and a cinema at various stages before becoming a bingo hall in 1959.
DHRT has been campaigning to save the venue since the group was formed in 2010, and in 2016 reached a deal with owners Blake Finance to move forward with the renovation plan.
Two other large-scale venues in Derby – the Guildhall and the Assembly Rooms – are also currently out of use.