£20m from Levelling Up Fund redirected at two Derby theatres

Derby City Council has now confirmed that £20m in government funding originally designated for the creation of a new learning theatre at the former Assembly Rooms site will now be redirected towards the renovation of two existing theatres in the city.

Earlier this year, the council, along with the University of Derby and Derby Theatre, secured this funding from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for the construction of the learning theatre.

However, due to escalated costs resulting from factors including high inflation, increased construction expenses, interest rates, and borrowing costs, the project has been deemed unfeasible.

As a result, the funding will be evenly split between the Guildhall Theatre and Derby Theatre locations to enhance their existing facilities.

This decision has received approval from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities.

Councillor Baggy Shanker, leader of Derby City Council, said: “This is a very positive outcome for the city. With the scheme we inherited for the former Assembly Rooms proving unviable, we could have faced the situation where we had to give £20 million of funding back to the Government.

“We will now work to find an alternative solution for the Assembly Rooms, which in my view and many others’, needs demolishing as soon as possible to enable a fresh start.”

Kathryn Mitchell, vice-chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “The University of Derby is delighted by the news that the city partnership has been successful in securing Levelling Up funds of £20 million to support cultural regeneration in the city.

“Derby Theatre, excited by this funding success, will now commence planning to use these funds to develop the theatre spaces within the city and enhance audience experiences.”