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Theatre Royal Wakefield unveils new arts centre

The front of a million pound extension to Wakefield's Theatre Royal has been unveiled as its opening day approaches.

Derelict land next to the theatre has been transformed as part of the Centre for Creativity project, designed to boost audiences and revenue at the 133-year-old theatre.

Kate Town

Kate Town

The new studio theatre, which has today installed its glass panel frontage, will host small scale performances and outreach work, including work with older people and people with mental health difficulties.

Wakefield theatre group In On the Act will also hold residency at the venue when it opens in May.

Executive director Katie Town said: "It's an exciting time and it's good that we're nearly there.

"There's plenty of theatrical performances that just don't suit what we have at the moment, like more innovative styles of performance and audience members interacting more directly with the performers.

"One of the other reasons I was really excited about it is because it could bring so much of Wakefield's community into that building.

"We will be welcoming young people to come in and perform, we'll be doing outreach with people who have mental health issues, and also some work with older people looking at ways to socialise and keep integrating - we will be moving all of that into our new studio.

"It opens it up to a wide range of the Wakefield community. My acid test about if we've done the right thing and if it is working well will be the range of people from Wakefield who are coming in, using the building and taking part in our activities and, frankly,having fun.

"In the centre of Wakefield you can see the edges of regeneration at the moment and it is things like filling what was a derelict gap site used as car parking and turning it into an arts centre that help to make it. This area of town has changed dramatically over the last few years and will continue to change."