COMMENT: Funding means Kings Theatre in Southsea can look ahead with confidence
It's fantastic news that the trust responsible for running Southsea's much-loved Kings Theatre has been given a £3m city council loan to help pay for a major regeneration project.
On top of that there's a £300,000 grant, plus the council, which owns the freehold of the historic Grade II-listed building, will also pay £350,000 for urgent repairs.
Getting this funding in place means that the Kings can now look ahead with confidence, providing entertainment and facilities fit for purpose in the modern world while still celebrating and making the most of the theatre's proud past.
The theatre trust still needs to raise £700,000 towards the project, but the council's considerable financial backing means a new-look Kings will now be a reality.
There was a dark time when the Kings came very close to closing down and being converted into a pub. Thankfully the beautiful old building was saved and, just three years after it was still making a loss, it now stands on the brink of an exciting future.
Three shops adjacent to the theatre are going to make way for a four-storey building, featuring a rehearsal space for community groups and a new bar with food.
The Tower Room on the top floor, currently used for storage, will be transformed into a function space and connected to a new rooftop/terrace bar.
But it's not just the physical building that's changing in a big way.
Today chief executive Paul Woolf outlines how the theatre’s programming will change to become less reliant on expensive external production companies.
There will be in-house productions, the theatre will co-produce its pantomime and also look to stage a diverse range of shows to cater for all tastes.
We think that’s a great mix and look forward to the reimagined Kings being very much at the heart of the local community.