THE Kings Theatre has unveiled plans for a multi-million pound regeneration project - with a proposed rooftop bar, community cafe, and a panoramic rehearsal space.
The regeneration will see the three shop units at 24, 26, and 28 Albert Road, which the theatre owns and surrounds, demolished to make way for the new facilities.
Initial estimates of the regeneration’s cost place it at more than £4m, with the new facilities opening as early as July 2021 depending on the consultation process, according to the CEO of the theatre, Paul Woolf.
He said: ‘We’re not invading the building
‘Once we take the bit out of the middle, we hope to do three knock-throughs - so it's not like we’re smashing the theatre down.’
Proposed plans would see a rooftop bar and terrace, with capactiy for 60 patrons, and a rehearsal space providing a behind-the-scenes view to passersby.
Mr Woolf revealed the plans to trustees and sponsors of the theatre this week, saying the regeneration will be a ‘massive statement’ which will see the theatre operate more like a ‘big business.’
He said: ‘It’s not good enough to say “we’re a charitable trust, so we’re going to be soft”.
‘We have a business that will treble in size once the regeneration has happened.
‘I would have us down as the number one theatre in Portsmouth - and we’re going to have a good old go at the Mayflower.’
The regeneration will also see changes to the way shows and refreshments are priced, as well as increasing resources for outreach work to bring the work of the theatre to the community.
Commercial operations director Chris Egelstaff said: ‘Theatre is for everyone. Our work is getting people to believe it’s part of their lives.
‘There’s going to be a lot of activities that will allow people to enjoy the theatre without seeing a show.’
The theatre is consulting with Historic England to ensure the draft plans are compatible with the Grade II-listed building.
Following this, there will be a public consultation as part of the planning process overseen by Portsmouth City Council.
Giles Pritchard, director of Pritchard Architecture, which created the plans, said: ‘We’re honoured to add another layer to the building’s history.’