A Sheffield theatre forced to close due to flood damage is set to reopen as a special needs hub and community site.
The Merlin Theatre in Nether Edge was shut in 2011.
But Sheffield’s Freeman College and Brantwood Specialist School have now raised £980,000 of the £1.1 million the Meadow Bank Road theatre needs for refurbishment.
The college is now appealing to the public to help raise the final £5,000 needed to fix the theatre’s seating before it reopens in the autumn.
Andi Stamp, fundraiser, said: “This will become a specialist hub for young people across Sheffield.
“We want to be the centre for drama for kids with special needs, but also a venue for lots of community events – the creative heart and soul of the community.
“It will create a wealth of opportunities for young people with special needs and community groups to participate in the fun and rewards of drama, dance and music.
“It’s going to be finished this autumn and fully open by Christmas 2016. It’s going to make a phenomenal difference to the community.
“The building is remarkable and the renovations make it all disabled accessible. It will mean it is well-equipped as a theatre for the next 40 years.”
The crowdfunding campaign for the theatre’s seating is asking the public or businesses to donate anything from £10 to £1,000 for a reward, ranging from a pewter brooch for the lowest tier to an inscription on the theatre’s sponsors board.
An open day will be held on Wednesday, April 22, from 6.30 to 8pm, at Brantwood school, Kenwood Bank,Nether Edge, for those interested in the plans.