Theatre offers its space during arts facility revamp

Rehearsals for Titus Andronicus by Titchfield Festival Theatre
Rehearsals for Titus Andronicus by Titchfield Festival Theatre
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A THEATRE has offered to be a second home to acting, singing and dancing groups during the renovation of a town’s entertainment venue.

Ferneham Hall is due to be closed from 2019 for two years as it undergoes a multi-million pound transformation leaving local groups including Fareham Musical Society and South Downe Musical Society looking for a place to go.

The team at Titchfield Festival Theatre have said they would be happy to help out.

Director Kevin Fraser said: ‘We are about three miles from Fareham town centre so we are probably the closest venue that could accommodate some of the groups and their shows.

‘We can fit 200 in our main theatre, 100 in the studio and 175 in our Great Barn where we put on our Shakespeare plays so although we don’t have the same amount of seating as Ferneham Hall we can still have lots of people through the door.’

The theatre in Titchfield puts on 27 shows across their three venues and have spent the last few years renovating the former industrial premises.

Kevin said: ‘We have our organ in place and everything else is nearly finished as well as the fact our theatre is environmentally sustainable as we have solar panels and we generate our own electricity and in future we will sell the surplus back to the national grid providing us with income which is really exciting.’

The theatre also has a 200kw bio mass boiler providing heat to the auditoriums, bars, rehearsal areas and dressing rooms.

Kevin added: ‘We have all worked really hard to get the theatre to this stage and it would be great to share it with other local groups.

‘The plans for Ferneham Hall are needed but we have them quite often so it will be interesting to see if they come off and it will be great for the community if it does happen.’

The multi-million pound plans include two auditoriums – one of which would include a screen and projector – community rooms, and a dance studio.

The scheme would see the theatre’s main auditorium cut from 700 seats to 408 after evidence showed half the seats are empty for most performances.

Fareham councillors said the revamp of the arts facility is ‘desperately needed.’