The executive of Fareham Borough Council have voted unanimously to approve the concept designs and £12.35m budget for the redevelopment of Ferneham Hall.
The work will see the existing 706 seat theatre refurbished and extended to 800 seats, with a new foyer, a cafe operating throughout the day on the ground floor and a terrace bar on the first floor. A new studio space on the first floor is also part of the proposal, with capacity for 25 people to accommodate a range of activities from dance and yoga classes to Brownie groups.
Councillor Susan Bell, executive member for leisure and community said “I think the designs are very exciting’ The expanded foyer, we hope, will create a better flow of patrons and it is very important that it will be open to the wider community.
Remodelling the theatre was agreed to be cheaper than demolition and rebuild, and be an example of sustainable regeneration for the Council.
Colin Cobb, Associate at FCBStudios said: “Ferneham Hall is a theatre and venue with a shared history for the local community, a meeting place, and a springboard for local arts organisations and young people. Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is very pleased to be working on the renewal of the theatre to create a place that will continue to be important for the culture, for the community and for the town. Our proposals aim to give a sense of contemporary quality and place, adding a new foyer and venue and refurbishing and improving the existing facilities.”
More detailed plans will be put before the council’s planning committee and the theatre is due to close in January 2020.