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Curtain to go up on theatre revamp

PUBLISHED: 16:22 21 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:41 06 July 2010

Gorleston Pavilion Theatre

Gorleston Pavilion Theatre

THEATRE chiefs are hoping to raise the curtain on a £1m revamp for Gorleston's landmark Pavilion.

A new roof, foyer and general upgrade are set to be included in the scheme bidding for lottery funding in the next few months.

THEATRE chiefs are hoping to raise the curtain on a £1m revamp for Gorleston's landmark Pavilion.

A new roof, foyer and general upgrade are set to be included in the scheme bidding for lottery funding in the next few months.

Borough council conservationist Darren Barker said the revamp would be drawn up in the next few weeks enhancing its Edwardian flavour and possibly including some more contemporary elements at the entrance.

Built in 1901 by celebrated architect JW Cockrill - the man behind Great Yarmouth's former art college - the red brick and terracotta building has been in continuous use as a theatre ever since.

Mr Barker said the Grade II listed building was perfectly safe but that 110 years of looking grandly out to sea had taken its toll on the salt-blasted masonry. Also, the copper roof had reached the end of its life and that generally the building - although a hive of activity inside - was “tired and dated.”

“It has really got to the stage where it needs a big cash injection. It has a good sustainable use and is a prominent building in the conservation area,” he said.

The aim he added was to recapture some of the original Edwardian opulence enjoyed by visitors to the gentile resort, valued for its large sandy beach.

The council-owned theatre has been run by Stuart Durrant and Kevin Lynch for 16 years. Mr Durrant said their popular year-round programme helped to extend the holiday season and had spin off benefits for local hotels and restaurants.

Mr Durrant said it was an exciting time for the much loved theatre which is also the venue for talks, clubs and meetings.

He said it was mainly the fabric of the building that needed help and that a charity was being set up to raise 10pc of the funding - £100,000.

Conservationists expect to start work on the bid in the next few months, hoping to secure development study cash first so architects can work out the design. It is likely to be at least 12 months before work starts.

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