Planning approval granted for refurbishment of community theatre

The Cornerstone project

Planning approval has been granted for the refurbishment and upgrade of the Sutton Community Theatre, which will be rebranded as ‘Cornerstone’ upon reopening.

Designed by Nottingham-based CPMG Architects, the Cornerstone project aims to transform the theatre into a new entertainment space.

It will host various events, including professional theatre performances, movies, music and comedy nights, academy concerts, and community activities.

The upgrades address issues with the ageing facilities, such as a failing heating system, outdated lighting, non-functional microphones, and inadequate changing rooms.

The project includes creating a new foyer, refurbishing the auditorium, upgrading the stage area, adding new dressing rooms and backstage facilities and installing modern lighting and audio-visual systems.

The auditorium will also be refurbished featuring new flooring, ceilings, acoustic wall treatments, and doors.

A new retractable seating installation will provide 168 tiered seats, and specialised lighting will be installed throughout to accommodate a variety of events. Additionally, a newly constructed balcony will offer 24 more seats and space for wheelchair users.

Backstage, existing areas will be completely reconfigured to meet modern standards. This includes replacing narrow staircases and adding two new dressing rooms, a performance green room, and shower facilities on the upper ground floor.

On the first floor, two additional dressing rooms will be created, along with a laundry room, theatre workshop, and housing for amplifier and lighting dimmer equipment.

Steve Milan, associate at CPMG Architects, said: “This represents a step forward in the efforts to bring the vision of Cornerstone to life and provide the community with a space that is truly fit-for-purpose and something all can take pride in. The approval underscores our commitment to delivering architectural solutions that not only meet the functional needs of our clients but also enrich the fabric of the communities they serve.

“While the entrance to the theatre will remain unchanged from a practical perspective, a new foyer will be created at the front of the building, relocating a number of offices to create the new space and visitor facilities. In addition to the internal upgrades, there are a number of external improvement works planned, including recolouring the fly-tower cladding and installation of signage for Cornerstone’s new branding – all designed to be visible from the surrounding streets.”

John Bennet, executive director of place at Ashfield District Council said “This project will help us achieve our goals of creating a vibrant and safe night-time economy in Ashfield. As the new Planetarium will connect young people to space and raise their aspirations, Cornerstone Theatre will ignite their creativity and imagination. We are so proud to be investing in arts and culture, to allow more people of all backgrounds, young and old, in Ashfield and beyond to experience the magic of cinema, live theatre and music in an easy-to-access place.

“All our regeneration projects, funded through over £100m external investment, have a common aim – to create an Ashfield that is a great place to live, work, play, study and visit.”

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