'Amazing recognition' - Theatre to expand with £243,000 grant

The Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft.

The Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft. - Credit: The Seagull Theatre

Officials at a popular community theatre are celebrating after being awarded almost a quarter of a million pounds for improvement works.

The Seagull Theatre, in Pakefield, Lowestoft has received a grant of more than £240,000 from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme.

The venue is among 66 cultural organisations and is one of only 11 theatres across the country to benefit from a share of a £22.7m investment programme to help venues after the pandemic.

Joy for staff and officials at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield, Lowestoft.

Joy for staff and officials at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield, Lowestoft. - Credit: The Seagull Theatre

Management at the theatre on Morton Road said it would use the money to expand and improve accessibility by developing its building to support more local people.

Operating out of a converted 1895-built school building, the £243,119 the theatre has been awarded will be used for the development of new facilities, including a new accessible workshop at the back of the building, an accessible ground floor studio space, new toilet block and technical control box and extending the capacity at the 112-seat venue to about 130 seats.

The Seagull Theatre in Pakefield, Lowestoft.

The Seagull Theatre in Pakefield, Lowestoft. - Credit: The Seagull Theatre

Delighted Des Reynolds said: "We have been successful in getting a large grant from the Arts Council to enlarge and improve our building - which is amazing recognition for all our hard work."

The project, which will take place over the next 18 months, will boost the Theatre’s ability to cater for more vulnerable people and increase accessibility for those who wish to access the arts but have additional needs.

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Seagull Theatre manager, Karen Read said: "We are over the moon to be chosen as one of only 11 theatres to be given funds in this round of capital investment.

"We are proud that Lowestoft is now being recognised as a cultural destination worthy of investment.

"We have all worked so hard to build our lovely little venue alongside our amazing team of volunteers and performers and this grant is just the recognition that everyone deserves.

"Most importantly though, we are excited that our building will be able to offer more support to more local people, and we will be able to use this investment to further enlarge our extensive community support programme.”

Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, said: “World class creativity and culture needs a resilient and sustainable infrastructure to allow it to flourish."