Lancaster Grand plans £1m refurbishment


Lancaster’s Grand Theatre has unveiled plans for a £1 million extension of its 230-year-old building, which will add a new studio space.

Plans submitted to Lancaster City Council by the theatre’s owner – amateur drama troupe Lancaster Footlights – depict a new glass-fronted foyer for the building, which will house a new box office and bar.

In addition, the second floor of the extension will include a studio space to be hired out for rehearsals or for use by professional companies, as well as amateur groups and conferences.

Architect's impression of Lancaster's Grand Theatre's proposed refurbishment. Photo: 3D ReidThe renovation will also see the theatre become more accessible to people with disabilities with the installation of a lift.

The extension to the theatre – which Footlights claims is the third oldest in the UK – will cost an estimated £1 million, of which the group has currently raised £160,000.

If the group is granted planning permission by the council, it will apply for financial support from major funding bodies including Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Theatre manager Ellie Singleton said the theatre needed the renovation to keep up with its growing popularity, both with audiences and visiting companies.

She explained: “When I first took it on 13 years ago, it was predominantly an amateur theatre, and it did musicals. I’ve tried to turn it into a more professional theatre, so I’ve introduced a lot more touring companies, and I think over the past five years we’ve got a really, really good reputation for comedy.

“And I think it’s because of this, we have managed to put in a new sound system, we’ve managed to have new lights, we’ve managed to keep the refurbishments up. And we just want to drive it forward. We want a better place for our community where we know they can see a really good show.”

The Stage understands the council will make a decision on whether to grant planning permission in November.