Thanks to fundraising and a successful bid to the Big Lottery Fund, Playgoers (who now own the theatre) were able to double the size of the foyer, install a new bar and refurbish three buildings at the back of the theatre, on Wilson Street, which will be used as community rooms.
Peter Inglis, group chairman, said: “We’re all delighted that the whole project has worked out so well. The charity Soundwave has moved into a recording studio and offices on Wilson Street.
“It’s been hard work raising the funds and getting the job done. We ran into all sorts of difficulties, but we’ve overcome them and now we’re very excited to be back in the theatre.”
Geoff Brinicombe, of the Playgoers, said: “Everyone is really excited. We have two meeting rooms, a wardrobe which is double the size of the one we had before, new dressing rooms and the floor in the stalls area is completely new because we had to remove the asbestos underneath it and the joists were rotten.
“Renewing the stage is our next project and we’re starting to fundraise for that phase which is going to cost around £60,000.”
Sarah McMahom, project officer for the Big Lottery Fund, visited the theatre, she said: “It’s a fantastic transformation. It makes it a lot more accessible. It was money well spent.
“It’s definitely a good thing that the theatre wants to open up to the community and I wish them all the best.”
An official opening event was held on May 7th 2016 with local MP Sue Hayman doing the honours of officially opening the theatre.