Lowestoft's Seagull theatre to expand with £243k award

Image caption,
The Seagull theatre in Lowestoft closed in 2006 after it lost its funding but reopened in 2009

A community theatre has been awarded almost a quarter of million pounds for improvement works to its 19th Century building.

The Seagull in Lowestoft, Suffolk, said it would use the money to expand and improve accessibility.

The money was from a £22.7m investment programme by Arts Council England to help venues after the pandemic.

Director Des Reynolds said: "More than anything else it's a really big boost for Lowestoft."

The theatre moved into the 1895-built school building in the 1960s, and was reformed as a Community Interest Company in 2009.

Arts Council England said the arts venue, in the Pakefield area of Lowestoft, served an area of significant coastal deprivation.

It runs a series of community events as well as hosting regional and national touring theatre companies, and past performers who have featured in theatre productions include Abi Titmuss in Macbeth, and Sean Harris who has since appeared in Mission Impossible films and much more.

Image caption,
The theatre hopes to expand its auditorium with the money

The £243,119 it had been awarded will be used for the development of new facilities, including a new accessible workshop, an accessible ground floor studio space, and extended capacity at the 112-seat venue to about 130 seats.

Mr Reynolds said: "A new toilet block will allow us to move back part of the technical infrastructure of the building which means we can put in a couple more rows at the back of the auditorium.

"It's not a massive increase but it does means we've got a bit more space and there are a few more seats.

"It's a massive boost to our accessibility, its means we've have a lot more space to support local families and local people would want to get involved in the arts."

Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, said its investments were "making sure that people from every part of the country can continue enjoying all the benefits [culture] delivers for years to come".

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