Motion passed to develop the Marlowe theatre

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By Rosemary Lane on 31.3.2023

Motion passed to develop the Marlowe theatre

The Marlowe Theatre is getting a facelift, costing £25.6m.

On March 19th, the Canterbury City Council voted to completely revamp the theatre instead of closing it down or inexpensively repairing it.

The plan was almost unanimously passed, with 43 councillors voting in favor, two against and one abstaining.

Council leader John Gilbey said in a press release, “This great project will provide crucial jobs for local people at this difficult time, and once it is opened the new theatre will act as the catalyst for much-needed regeneration in the local area.”

In light of the recession, the new theatre is expected to boost the district’s economy by £22m a year, create new jobs and be cheaper to operate than the old theatre, said Sarah Munday, press officer of the theatre.

The old Marlowe Theatre was in danger of closing because of its needy repairs, said Munday. Also, the 950-seat capacity made larger productions difficult, she said.

The new design includes a sleek, modern structure with a 1,200-seat auditorium, a 150-seat second smaller space for educational and community purposes, roomy foyers with bars on three floors, a new piazza in the front and meeting areas.

Mark Everett, theatre director, said in an e-mail that the second space will be used as a creative facility open to everyone.

“It will enable existing links with the local universities to develop and provide opportunities for training and development for students wishing to join the performing arts profession,” Everett said.

The Canterbury City Council, the Kent County Council and the South East England Development Agency will fund about 20m of the plan.

According to the BBC, the rest of the 6m is expected to come from private donors, like Joanna Lumley and Orlando Bloom, who appears in a video on the Marlowe Web site.

The Marlowe Theatre closed with a final performance on Sunday called A Night of a Thousand Stars, which included Oscar nominated actor Ron Moody and comedian Brian Conley.

Construction is expected to start in May and finish in September 2011.


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