Plans for Derby’s theatres take step forward

The Guildhall Theatre

Derby’s restoration of its Guildhall Theatre and Derby Theatre is set to move forward this week with an injection of £20m Government Levelling Up Funding.

The funding will be evenly divided between the Guildhall Theatre and Derby Theatre, expected to generate an extra £2.7m annually for the local economy.

A partnership agreement between the organisations outlines how the funds will be utilised, with Cabinet approval pending.

The £10m designated for the Guildhall Theatre will be used to revamp the Grade II listed building, creating a new front-of-house experience, and expanding seating capacity to around 280.

Backstage facilities will also be upgraded for better accessibility, dressing rooms refurbished, and a new courtyard added, adjacent to the historic Market Hall set to reopen in spring 2025 after extensive renovations.

Cllr Nadine Peatfield, deputy leader of Derby City Council and Cabinet Member for City Centre, Regeneration, Culture and Tourism, said: “By bringing the Guildhall Theatre back into use, we can not only restore one of our historic buildings but create more space for community-led arts groups to perform right in Derby’s cultural heart.

“We’re on a mission to put culture at the heart of our city, bringing pride to our high streets, and attracting further investment into the city. Change is coming and what is planned for Derby’s Market Place is truly exciting.”

Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby and Chair of Derby Theatre Board of Trustees, said: “Derby Theatre makes a significant contribution to the cultural life of our city, and provides unique opportunities for the University’s students to gain real-life experience and practical skills in a working theatre environment. As a Civic university, we are proud to support and champion the great work it does in opening doors and widening participation in cultural activities among our diverse communities.

“We look forward to working closely with the City Council and all our partners to ensure continued growth and development to further enhance its positive impact.”