Mary Shelley theatre revamp planned in Dorset

The Shelley Theatre Cinema seats have been donated to the theatre from Bournemouth's IMAX building

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About 170 people have volunteered to help restore a theatre which was built for Frankenstein author Mary Shelley.

Plans for the revamp of the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe, Dorset, were displayed in the 1840s building at an event on Saturday.

Funding is being sought for the project and a trust charity is being set up to run the theatre, organisers say.

Shelley's son, Sir Percy Shelley, bought Boscombe Manor House for his mother and added the theatre.

'Semi derelict'

Patrick Keats, the theatre development director, said: "It's a real community project that aims to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the manor."

Performances have been taking place at the theatre for the past two years but without heating and electricity Mr Keats said it was a "semi-derelict, season-dependant building".

"We want to create a space which can be used all year round," he said.

The work includes fitting toilets, central heating, electricity and creating a 120-seat restaurant.

Bournemouth Borough Council owned the property between 1936 and 2005, when it was used as a college.

It has since been bought by developers Charles Higgins Partnership.

The town council donated 220 cinema seats and catering equipment to the theatre from Bournemouth's IMAX building which is currently being demolished on the seafront.

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