Berkshire

Reading's Hexagon theatre 'to be replaced' in years to come

The Hexagon Image copyright Paul Gillett
Image caption The theatre was built in 1977 in the shape of a hexagon but will be replaced with a new venue in the future

An iconic theatre will be replaced after councillors approved plans to find a new site and seek investors.

Built in 1977, the Hexagon - Reading's largest arts venue - cannot be sufficiently modernised because of its "age and condition", councillors said.

Reading Festival boss Melvin Benn, who chairs a group which wants a new theatre, could lead the project.

Reading Borough Council stressed that, for now, it would continue to fund the Hexagon while those plans are drawn up.

New theatre 'exciting'

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption As well as performing with his band The Smiths at the Hexagon in 1985, Morrissey returned for a solo gig there in 2006

The Hexagon has been host to a range of high-profile events from snooker's World Grand Prix to The Smiths playing there in 1985.

Its eclectic range is reflected in upcoming appearances from The Maccabees and David Hasselhoff.

The council's policy committee agreed that in future Reading would need a new theatre and approved the first steps to seek a suitable site and external investors.

Theatre and Arts Reading (TAR) chaired by Mr Benn, has done separate research into what sort of new theatre the town needs.

The council said: "Following discussions with TAR it is clear that there is a shared strategic aspiration for Reading to have a new theatre and that the council could play a key facilitating role, particularly with regard to its land holdings."

Committee member Jeanette Skeats said: "I welcome this report and I think it's exciting, the prospect of a new theatre.

"We'll get behind it and we look forward to things progressing for the future."

The discussion comes at a time when the council is looking to axe the South Street Arts Centre as part of budget cuts.

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