Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Stars back Portsmouth's 'spend a penny' theatre crowdfund bid

Lisa Riley, Dillie Keane, Hugh Dennis and Anita Harris Image copyright BBC/Kings Theatre
Image caption Lisa Riley, Dillie Keane, Hugh Dennis and Anita Harris star in a video appeal for the renovation

Stars of the stage and screen are backing a crowdfunding bid to renovate an Edwardian theatre in Portsmouth.

The Big Project aims to restore and develop Kings Theatre in Southsea and begins with a £15,000 appeal to renovate the dress circle toilets.

Carry On actress and former Cliff Adams Singer, Anita Harris, and former Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley are among the stars backing the campaign.

The theatre was built by renowned architect Frank Matcham in 1907.

Image copyright Kings Theatre
Image caption Restoration of the main auditorium, including the ceiling, was carried out in 2007

Theatre patrons Harris and Riley, as well as actress, singer and comedian Dillie Keane and Outnumbered star Hugh Dennis star in a video appeal for the renovation of the toilets reciting the motto: "Give us a pound to spend a penny."

The restoration project is also expected to include new seating, foyers, bars and lift access, as well as space for exhibitions, community events and workshops.

The 1,600-seat Grade II*-listed proscenium arch theatre has been managed as a voluntary charitable trust since 2003 by the Kings Theatre Trust.

Image copyright N Chadwick
Image caption The theatre was built by renowned architect Frank Matcham in 1907

Comedians Alan Carr and Dara O'Briain, and Hi-de-Hi actress Su Pollard are among those who have also performed at the venue.

A theatre spokesman said: "It's a big programme of work, and will take a number of years.

"But every long journey begins with a single step - and a trip to the loos."

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