Tyne & Wear

Council deal secures future of Alnwick's Playhouse theatre

Alnwick Playhouse Image copyright Hindhaugh, Lorraine
Image caption The building will be closed until May 2019 while renovation work is carried out

The future of a Northumberland theatre has been secured with a £2.5m plan to turn it into a community hub.

Northumberland County Council has bought Alnwick Playhouse and granted the trust that runs it a 50 year lease.

The move will see the 200-seat theatre, which opened in 1925, retained, with the addition of community facilities, including a library.

The site, on Bondgate Without, will close until May 2019 while the renovation work is carried out.

'Restore and modernise'

The theatre has been hit by cuts in Arts Council funding and parts of the building itself are in disrepair.

Council leader Peter Jackson said: "The Playhouse is one of the most well-loved buildings in Alnwick and we are committed to its future.

"This deal is great news for the town and will further improve what the Playhouse offers, while also providing a central location for council services."

Chris Sayers, chairman of Alnwick Playhouse Trust said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fully restore and modernise the Playhouse and, at the same time, provide the town with a redesigned arts facility that will serve all of its needs.

"It will make the Playhouse an even more valuable asset for Alnwick and the surrounding area."

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