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Video: Marlowe redevelopment gets go-ahead

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The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury
The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury
The design for the new Marlowe Theatre
The design for the new Marlowe Theatre

City councillors gave the go-ahead for a £25.6 million redevelopment of the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury at a meeting last night.

More than 100 members of the public packed into the Guildhall to witness the historic moment as the council voted in favour of the project, with only two councillors voting against, and one choosing to abstain.

Video: City Council Chief Executive Colin Carmichael talks about the decision to Adam Williams on the right

The project will see a new 1,200 seat state of the art auditorium with vastly improved acoustics and sightlines, along with a second, smaller performance space, built on the site of the existing Marlowe.

The Second Space, which can take 150 people seated, or up to 300 people standing, will be a facility dedicated to participation and learning for the community, schools and universities.

It will mean the Marlowe will, for the first time, be both a presenting and a producing theatre.

There will also be enhanced public areas throughout the new Marlowe, with foyers and bars on all three floors, a riverside walk, cafe and trrace and a piazza that will provide opportunities for outside performances.

Council leader Cllr John Gilbey was thrilled with the decision.

He said: "This great project will provide crucial jobs for local people at this difficult time, and once it is opened, the new theatre will act as the catalyst for much-needed regeneration in the local area.

"I am absolutely delighted that the council has now agreed to take this brave step that will benefit generations to come."

The current Marlowe will close this Sunday with a spectacular gala event, 'Night of a Thousand Stars', and work on the new theatre will start in April and is expected to be completed by September 2011.

During that time, Marlowe shows will be taken on the road, with performances across the district at a variety of venues.

See Thursday's Kentish Gazette for full report.

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