Dorset

Former Dorchester brewery theatre plans unveiled

Dorchester Maltings exterior drawing Image copyright Dorchester Arts
Image caption The new theatre would be located at Brewery Square

Plans have been unveiled to turn part of a former brewery in Dorchester into an arts centre.

The Maltings at the town's regenerated Brewery Square will include a flexible main auditorium with 450 seats.

The plans also include a 100-capacity studio, a cafe-bar and a commercial annexe to provide income.

Dorchester Arts, which is leading the project, has applied for developer contributions from the Poundbury development to help fund the work.

It is also in talks with other potential funders including Arts Council England.

Self-sustaining

The organisation said the new venue would provide a £4.6m annual boost to the local economy.

Artistic director Mark Tattersall said plans for the theatre had been "on the table for some years" but the design of arts venues "had moved on" so the scheme had been amended in a way which also made the venue self-sustaining.

Dorchester Arts is currently based at the town's Corn Exchange but Louise Sheaves, chairman of a new charitable body set up to oversee the new project, said The Maltings would be a "step change" in terms of what the arts group could contribute to the town.

The Victorian-era maltings building forms part of the former Eldridge Pope & Co brewery which closed in 2003.

A public meeting about the plans is being held at the Corn Exchange on Wednesday 15 February.

Image copyright Dorchester Arts

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