Great Yarmouth's St George's Theatre opens after delays

Artist's impression of St George's Theatre auditorium The venue can seat about 300 people

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Great Yarmouth's St George's Theatre, housed in a Grade I listed chapel, has reopened following a £7.5m restoration.

The King's Street theatre should have opened in the spring, but delays to the building of an adjacent pavilion led to its postponement.

The borough council has now opened the theatre for shows, with the pavilion scheduled to open in 2013.

The theatre will be operated by St George's Art Centre Trust.

HISTORY OF ST GEORGE'S

St George's view in 1955
  • The design, by John Price, drew on the work of Sir Christopher Wren
  • The chapel was listed Grade I in 1953 and ceased operating as a place of worship in 1959
  • It was formally declared redundant in 1971 and converted to a theatre in 1972
  • Structural deterioration forced the theatre to close in 2006

The original chapel, based on a baroque design, was built in 1714.

Delays in opening the theatre occurred when architects and builders disagreed over the new pavilion, being built adjacent to the chapel theatre.

'Magnificent building'

Funding the King's Street project came from a number of bodies including £2.9m from the Sea Change Programme, £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.24m from Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

The theatre development is part of a larger £9.3m project to enhance the whole of Great Yarmouth's St George's Plain and parts of King's Street.

Peter Wilson, chair of the leasing trust, said: "After many months of waiting and a long period of indecision, I am very pleased the various parties have come to agreement and allowed the trust to take possession of this magnificent building."

The theatre opened on Wednesday with a performance for children.

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