Curtain goes up on plan for revamp at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre

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Arts are set for a massive boost when plans for a multi-million pound scheme to refurbish The Lyceum theatre are given the green light.

The venue has reached the final stages of bidding for a grant of £1 million from the Arts Council, which would be put towards improvement work designed to entice bigger audiences.

Sheffield Council has pledged £500,000 to the scheme, which costs a total of £2 million, to help give it the go-ahead. Bosses at Sheffield Theatres hope to get the remaining cash from public donations and fundraising.

The Edwardian theatre – last refurbished 25 years ago – currently has to close for a few weeks in the summer for maintenance work to be carried out.

Improvements to the stage, equipment and building will cut closure times significantly and allow more productions to be staged, generating more profit.

Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “This capital investment from the council enabled Sheffield Theatres to secure the significant grant from the Arts Council in England.

“The capital investment will help the theatres generate more income and so increase their financial resilience in a period of sustained public funding reductions.

“Sheffield Council has had to cut its revenue funding to the theatres over the past few years, and this investment helps the organisation to replace this lost income.

“The arts industries play a vital role in Sheffield’s economy and a project like this, with a clearly defined purpose and benefits, is a sound investment.”

The proposed refurbishment project will take place next summer, subject to Arts Council approval.

At present, no date has been given for a decision.

Dan Bates, chief executive of Sheffield Theatres, said: “I am so pleased that Sheffield Council is in a position to consider supporting the refurbishment of the Lyceum as a key component of the cultural infrastructure of the city.

“We have recently submitted our application to the Arts Council for funding for this project which will ensure that audiences have a much improved experience, and that we can improve the building and its facilities to attract the highest calibre of shows and performers to the city.”