Shropshire Star

Telford Theatre to close next week as three-year redevelopment project starts

Telford Theatre is closing its doors next week so surveys can begin ahead of redevelopment work starting in the autumn.


Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

Work to remodel the Oakengates theatre will result in an increased capacity of 750 people in a two-tiered main auditorium.

Proposals include a new bar and dining facility, a second access, a small studio theatre and improved backstage areas.

The project has received £15.5million of Levelling Up funding from central government, and Telford & Wrekin Council is contributing £1.5m.

Telford Theatre closes on March 23 and is due to re-open in October 2026.

Councillor Carolyn Healy, Cabinet member for leisure, said the council was ‘confident’ it had a new location for the library in Oakengates when the facility moves next month.

“There are a number of tenants we need to work with to make sure they’re re-located,” said Councillor Healy. “The physical work starts in the Autumn.”

A planning application for the remodelled theatre is set to be submitted in the next month. The council is already going through pre-application processes to ‘understand the constraints and what from a planning point of view is acceptable and what isn’t’.

The application will include detailed drawings of the proposed work and will be an opportunity for further comments to be made, which could lead to further changes.

An artist’s impression of how Telford Theatre could look after the planned work is complete. Picture: Telford & Wrekin Council

A recent consultation about the plans saw 597 responses and 74.9 per cent thought that ‘remodelling the theatre would bring more visitors to Oakengates supporting local businesses’.

Councillor Healy said that the results were ‘really positive’ and followed on for regular surveys of theatre visitors.

“We’ve known for a few years that things like toilets and refreshment facilities were things that people would give us feedback on that they wanted to see improved,” added the cabinet member.

“We’ve got lifts and provision for disabled access, but it’s a bit clunky and not as easy as it could be. We’ve known for some years that those things are problematic and from the types of acts that we try to book that the size of the auditorium can sometimes limit us and the backstage facilities.

“We started off from knowing those things and last year we did some high-level concept drawings before a consultation which started to firm things up.

“It wasn’t a case that we landed lucky that people agreed with what we said, it’s been a journey of listening to customers to understand what they want and then shaping the project around that.”

Councillor Healy said they are now considering more detailed elements of the theatre like the types of seating.

“The big cost will be on the building, after that it’s a case of how far the budget will stretch in terms of the nature of the seating and layout,” she added.

Concerns were raised during the consultation phase about the availability of car parking spaces following the redevelopment.

“We want to make sure that we don’t lose car parking spaces,” added councillor Healy.

“We’re looking at things we can do in the car park to potentially increase car parking. Some of the detail around disabled car parking in the right places and make it easier for disabled users to access the theatre.

“The baseline is that we don’t want to lose any parking as we know it’s tight when there’s a busy show and other things going on in Oakengates as well. It’s a car park for the town.

“It’s about getting those final details in and seeing how many we can without breaking the budget. There’s also a constant re-evaluation of the budget.”