Hertford Theatre's forthcoming redevelopment has come a step closer after the District Council appointed architects to draw up plans for the project.
Bennetts Associates were appointed by the council after a comprehensive tender process that attracted bids from across Europe. The firm's portfolio includes Storyhouse in Chester, RSC in Stratford, Hampstead Theatre and Kings Theatre, Edinburgh.
The £13.5m expansion over three years will see a new three screen cinema showing the latest releases, more seats in the main auditorium and a new 150-seat studio. The scheme will also include an improved riverside café-bar for theatre visitors and people enjoying the castle grounds.
Bennetts Associates will develop a design and costings to be submitted for planning permission later next year.
The design will be guided by a public consultation focusing on theatre staff, volunteers and key users; the general public, theatre goers and Hertford residents; and Hertford district, town and county councillors. Other stakeholders such as the Arts Council, Hertford Civic Society, Hertford Choral Society, Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust and Hertfordshire Garden Trust will also be involved.
Eric Buckmaster, executive member for wellbeing, said: "I'm delighted that we have appointed a leader in the field, Bennetts Architects, who will be working with us on our wide-reaching ideas for Hertford Theatre. The theatre has become a cultural and social hub for the town and this project will build on that position, ensuring that it remains exciting and relevant for its growing audience.
"It will also allow it to continue as a major draw for visitors from out of town who love theatre, film and live performances, bringing benefits to the wider economy as well."
Simon Erridge, director at Bennetts Associates, said: "We're really looking forward to working with the team at East Herts, and also engaging with the people of Hertford as we develop our design proposals in the coming months"
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