Stage set for revamped theatre venue’s next act

A panoramic review of the refurbished Merlin Theatres interior
A panoramic review of the refurbished Merlin Theatres interior
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​A Sheffield theatre is back open after a major £1 million revamp.

The Merlin Theatre, in Nether Edge, has been out of action for five years after a severe flood caused a water tank in the venue’s roof to burst, damaging the ceiling and electrical systems.

But, after a successful fundraising appeal, the theatre has undergone a complete refurbishment.

An opening ceremony at the weekend, which coincided with commemorations to mark 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, featured performances of excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as drama and music pieces by students from Freeman College.

The venue, which was originally launched in 1969, is run by the college and Brantwood Specialist School, which both cater for young people with learning disabilities.

It is also available for hire by drama, dance and music groups.

Set in the grounds of Tintagel House, near Kenwood Hall hotel, the complex also offers the Arnold Freeman Hall, 10 large workshop spaces and an art studio, alongside the 200-seat theatre.

Funds are still needed for a lighting rig and 50 new seats.

“Then we’ll have a wonderfully equipped and functioning theatre – one of the most beautiful in the country, according to the Theatres Trust,” said fundraiser Andi Stamp.

The Education Funding Agency, the JG Graves Charitable Trust and the Sheffield Town Trust were among the appeal’s backers.