Curtain up on new Oswestry theatre plans
A million pound new theatre has been given the go-ahead at a Shropshire school.
Planning permission has been granted for the 300-seater theatre at Moreton Hall girls' school near Oswestry.
Bosses there say they would love to see the first curtain go up in 2019 with building work starting in April.
The community theatre will be available not only for the school but the local community.
The idea was born when benefactors Bill and Julie Holroyd saw the positive benefits of drama through their own daughter’s education.
Principal, Jonathan Forster said: "The new theatre means new opportunities for people in North Shropshire and the Borders to access the arts, offering surrounding communities an exciting professional programme in drama, dance, music, literary events and cinema.
"Bill and Julie Holroyd, the founding patrons, who have backed the theatre from the beginning, want
it to be a place for people to come together, participate in and enjoy all that the arts have to offer."
He said the groundswell of support for the theatre was already strong and enthusiastic.
"Funding of the theatre has already reached over £1.1 million of the total £1.45m needed. The sponsor a seat and founding patrons schemes in particular are very popular and 20 per cent of the theatre’s seats are already
"As well as a venue for professional theatre productions, the theatre will be used by community
groups, amateur drama societies and arts organisations. It will also be used by the surrounding
primary and secondary state schools which will have access to the theatre as well as teaching,
performances and workshops from the Moreton Hall drama department. Moreton’s Face2Face Performance Academy is also keen to expand."
The schools said it is now looking for an experienced theatre manager.
The plans by Tim Ronalds Architects - the company which designed the Hackney Empire - are estimated to cost just under £1 million.
Pledges of help have included one from Old Moretonian Sheila Reid, who is best known for her performance as Madge Harvey in ITV's sitcom Benidorm.
It is hoped that parts of the theatre, from the box office to catering, designing and producing would be run by the students as part of Moreton Enterprises.