Building work has started on a £900,000 cultural arts centre at Theatre Royal Wakefield.
Derelict land next to the theatre will be transformed into a cafe-bar and studio as part of the Centre for Creativity project, designed to boost audiences and revenue at the 133-year-old theatre.
It will include a studio theatre seating up to 100 people where new stand-up comedy, drama and music will be staged.
The project, expected to be open next Spring, includes an eight-metre glass frontage and rusted steel cladding to replace the theatre’s existing hoarding on Westgate. Bermar Building is carrying out the work on the project, designed by architects Halliday Clark.
Construction has been funded with contributions totalling £300,000 from Wakefield Council, along with cash raised by the Theatre Royal.
Katie Town, the theatre’s executive director, said: “It is a great achievement for all at the theatre to have raised sufficient funds to commence building.
“Construction is, however, just the start of our future commitment to Wakefield with the new Centre for Creativity.
“The real impact will be when we open the new centre, giving new access to the arts for the local community and building audiences and participants.”
The theatre has launched a Buy a Star fundraising appeal to help pay for interior work at the new facility.
Stars will be sold and displayed on the new centre’s Wall of Fame