Durham uni has announced plans to spend £2.4 million on redeveloping the Assembly Rooms Theatre

The building will be closed for over a year


The Assembly Rooms Theatre will be closed from August 2018 to September 2019 due to Durham University's plans to invest £2.4 million into its refurbishment as part of its Estates Masterplan.

The focus of the work will be the redecoration of the theatre's "historic" ceiling, the improvement of facilities such as the dressing rooms and toilets, and the provision of wheelchair access.

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Photographs: Durham University

According to the theatre's website, the full list of developments include:

• Disabled Access

• Restoration to the historic ceiling and walls

• Internal redecoration throughout

• Refurbishment of all toilets

• Replacing existing heating system

• Renewing the theatre seating

• Renewal and repair of all windows and doors

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Durham Student Theatre plans to fundraise an additional £300,000 for the creation of a bar and café, as well as the improvement of the theatre's lighting and auditorium.

Max, a first-year student at St. Aidan's, who is involved in student theatre, told The Tab: "The new space that we will be given promises to be an exciting platform to engage in important conversations and explore new ideas."

But one second-year student, who has produced plays this year, raised concerns: "It’s a little baffling they’re only starting work at the start of next year and not over summer."

He added: "The renovation itself is necessary and should give Durham the headline venue it needs and deserves, but they need to reassure people about what will happen while the Assembly Rooms Theatre is out of order.

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Photographs: Durham University

Durham University’s Director of Experience Durham, Quentin Sloper, said: “The Assembly Rooms is a beacon of creativity and performance – not just for Durham students and staff, but for people across the city, county, region, and beyond. I’m delighted to announce this investment, which will make this popular and iconic local venue even better.”

“This £2.4 million investment shows just how serious we are about ensuring that Durham University is market leading in student theatre.”

A spokesperson for Durham university highlighted that other venues are available and can be booked by applying through the Durham Student Theatre executive, including:

· Caedmon Hall

· Ushaw College

· Gala Theatre

· Music Concert Hall

· Durham Students’ Union

· Collingwood College’s new theatre