Major redevelopment of a historic east coast theatre has taken a significant step forward.

The vision for a £3.5m revamp of the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft has moved to the next stage with the appointment of a specialist design team.

Earlier this year, after a two-year development process, a £24.9m programme to transform Lowestoft as part of the Towns Deal received final Government approval enabling work to progress on five major regeneration projects.

In May, the first glimpse of how a new £14.7m cultural hub for Lowestoft could look was revealed.

Lowestoft Journal: The vision for the Battery Green area of Lowestoft.The vision for the Battery Green area of Lowestoft. (Image: LDA Design and Neubau Architecture Ltd)

With the five projects centred around The Station Quarter, The Cultural Quarter, The Historic Quarter, The Seafront Vision and The Port Gateway project being developed by East Suffolk Council and the Lowestoft Place Board, improvements will be made to the Marina Theatre at the heart of The Cultural Quarter.

Lowestoft Journal: The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft.The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft. (Image: Mick Howes)

With the Marina Theatre having been allocated £3.5m of this fund for "planned redevelopments", the venue's Trust has now signed an agreement with Foster Wilson Size as lead consultants to undertake a feasibility study and draw up plans for their future redevelopment.

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A theatre spokesman said: "Foster Wilson Size is a leading architectural practice with an international reputation for the design of cultural buildings and creative spaces.

"Their previous clients include theatres from across the country and at a range of sizes, including well-known establishments like Polka, Trafalgar Theatre and Hammersmith Apollo in London; as well as the Everyman in Cheltenham and Norwich Theatre Royal."

Ed Wilson, from Foster Wilson Size, said: "We are delighted to have been appointed to work on improvements to the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft.

"The Marina is a wonderful historic theatre, and a great space to see live performance.

"We look forward to helping the team at the Marina upgrade the theatre, improve spaces for the audience and achieve their vision for the future.”

Lowestoft Journal: Emma Butler-Smith, chief executive of the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft.Emma Butler-Smith, chief executive of the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft. (Image: Marina Theatre)

With accessibility at the heart of the improvement plans, and audience experience being key to the Marina’s goal, the theatre's chief executive Emma Butler Smith said: "All of us that work at the Marina have spent many hours in conversation about what we’d like to achieve in this redevelopment and having such experienced architects taking our dreams and turning them into reality is a great boost for our staff.

"There are still many stages of planning and consultation ahead before the builders arrive, but this is a really encouraging step in the right direction.

"We look forward to sharing prospective plans with our customers in the coming months."

'Important step'

With the building owner and principal stakeholder of the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft Town Council looking forward to working with the theatre's trust in "assessing and agreeing any plans for the future redevelopment of the theatre," Alan Green, mayor of Lowestoft, said: "I am delighted that this important step towards drawing up plans to redevelop the Marina Theatre has been taken.

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"This appointment will help to make sure that everyone in Lowestoft will have access to a 21st-century theatre experience into the foreseeable future.

"I look forward to seeing how the plans develop.”

With projects under the Towns Fund expected to be completed by March 2026, the Marina intends to submit plans for consultation and agreement in the next 12 months.