Latest News | 2 July 2024

The show will go on – breathing new life into city’s historic theatre

Derby City Council
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In Marketing Derby’s latest Innovate Magazine we are given an exclusive insight into multi-million-pound plans to breathe new life into the city’s historic Guildhall Theatre.

The Grade II listed building on the Market Place has stood empty and unused since January 2019 because of structural issues.

However, towards the end of last year Derby City Council announced that £10 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, which had originally been earmarked for a since abandoned plan to create a learning theatre at the neighbouring Assembly Rooms, would be redirected to restore the Guildhall Theatre.

The city council is doubling down on the project – and is looking to add £14.5 million from its capital budget to make it a £24.5 million scheme.

The money will mean that not only can the fabric of the building be protected for future generations, but a host of improvements will also be introduced.

Upon entering the theatre after its re-opening, audiences will be greeted with a new ground floor bar and café, where they can grab a drink and a bite to eat before taking their seats for a show, alongside the box office.

Capacity within the auditorium will be extended to 280 and accessibility improved.

There will also be changes behind the scenes, including improving the dressing rooms, and a courtyard, connecting the Guildhall and the Market Hall, will be improved and brought to life.

In our feature, Innovate is given a tour of the building in its current state by Councillor Nadine Peatfield, who recently became the new leader of Derby City Council.

She told Innovate: “I’m so excited about being able to now move forward with this because the building pulls at the heartstrings of Derby.

“Its closure had a huge impact on the Cathedral Quarter and the city centre because of the footfall that has been lost, which kept the place vibrant and alive with theatregoers and all the families who would come in for performances.”

The restoration of the Guildhall Theatre is a key component of the city council’s strategy for a culture-led regeneration of the city centre.

It will be a three-year project, but Nadine says this will allow for a thorough job to be done that will preserve the theatre for many years to come.

Nadine told Innovate: “We know we’ve got to get it right. It’s one of the reasons why we didn’t look to just patch things up and open the doors as soon as we could. That would be cheaper, obviously, but we’ve got to look at the long term.

“We didn’t want to re-open and then, in a few years’ time, have another problem where we’ve got to close again and all that hard work of bringing those communities back into the Guildhall is lost yet again.”

To read the feature in full visit .

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