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It will be curtain up on a new-look theatre for Maidstone this year, thanks to a cash injection of more than £100,000.
The Hazlitt Theatre in Earl Street is due for a major refurbishment, after new management, Parkwood Theatres, took over the running of the venue in October.
Work began at on the overhaul of the Earl Street theatre last week, which will include replacing all 353 seats in the main house, and fitting new carpets in the auditorium, foyer and Earl Street reception area.
The box office will be relocated to the Earl Street entrance and refurbished, while new signage will be put up outside. The exterior will also be given a facelift.
There will also be a new bar, which will be available for private hire and include have a performance area for bands to perform.
Parkwood now runs the theatre in conjunction with Maidstone council. Managing director Gary Roden said: “We are very delighted to be working with the council to invest in new seats and carpet for the Hazlitt Theatre, alongside the refurbishment of our box office, and main bar and foyer area.
“This is the start of a 15-year contract for Parkwood Theatres operating the Hazlitt Theatre, and we hope this early investment can be the platform to attract high quality shows to the venue and, in turn, increase the number of patrons we entertain.”
The changes being carried out are the first phase of a series of improvements.
Maidstone council’s cabinet member for economic and commercial development, Cllr Malcolm Greer (Con), said: “This is a great start to 2014 and Parkwood’s custodianship of our much-loved theatre.
“These improvements are a big part of the business plan which attracted us to Parkwood Leisure. I am looking forward to going to see some great shows at the newly refurbished theatre.”
The work will cost around £120,000, and has been paid for by Maidstone council, with the company paying the authority back over 15 years.
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