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Campaign for new £30 million theatre

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Photo: Josh Irwandi
Photo: Josh Irwandi

After the publication of a report arguing that the building of a theatre in Exeter’s city centre is “long overdue”, the Theatre for Exeter Development Group are campaigning for a new £30 million theatre.

The group formed last year in response to general local interest in a new theatre space, and claims that smaller Exeter venues such as the Bike Shed Theatre and the Corn Exchange would not suffer if a new theatre is built.

According to the report, only Exeter’s Northcott Theatre is capable of presenting large shows to the general public and visiting tourists.

However, the report also argues that the 460-seat Northcott Theatre is “no longer adequate to serve a regional capital with ambitious expansion plans” with its remote location, lack of private event space and small size, which prevents the attraction of major travelling shows.

A spokeswoman for the Northcott stated that they would welcome a new city-centre venue, which could potentially create a collaborative relationship between the two theatres.

She said: “At a time when public investment in the arts is being squeezed, it is great to see a group of individuals who are so passionate about the role of theatre in the lives of their community that they will put so much effort into making the case.”

Peter Goodwin, the chair of the Theatre for Exeter Development Group, said: “The next step is to commission professional theatre consultants to advise us where the extra funding would come from.”

If this new venue is built, the report estimates that the Exeter City Council and other local government partners could provide up to 60% of the funding required for the project, with other financial support coming from Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and local fundraising.

Amy Young, News Team

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