Call to support bid to build new stage at Beccles Public Hall

Building work has started on the renovation of the Beccles Public Hall's new stage. Public hall mana

Building work has started on the renovation of the Beccles Public Hall's new stage. Public hall manager Neil Dunnell on the stage.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A community hub in need of renovation is appealing to the public to help rebuild its stage.

Major works to improve Beccles Public Hall started in 2014, with work to improve and modernise the kitchen, foyer and bar already complete, along with work to make the building safe and waterproof.

And now directors are appealing for individuals, groups and businesses to come forward to help support their plan to build a new stage.

It measures more than 500 square foot, and people are being invited to sponsor a square foot for £20, or six square feet for £100 to help with the cost of the project.

All supporters will have their name included in a poster in the foyer, be awarded a certificate and have the chance to sign their square, so their name is etched on the under-flooring for years to come.

Neil Dunnell, general manager of Beccles Public Hall, said: 'It's a community place and we are really keen that the community does get involved with it and feel part of the theatre. It's also an opportunity for people to come in and see what we do.'

The work, which will be split into two phases is already under way, with the project expected to cost in the region of £50,000.

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Mr Dunnell said volunteers had managed to save £20,000 by completing all the preliminary work themselves, which had been organised by Terry Dentith, chairman of the building group.

He said: 'The first phase will cost around £34,000 and will include the stage floor, the back wall and the side wall. The floor is going to be lifted by six to eight inches and resurfaced and then the back wall and side wall have been stripped back to expose the brick ready for resurfacing.

'Phase two will cost £15,000 and will concentrate on the ceiling and will see the old beams replaced with steelwork in the roof to make it more versatile.'

Mr Dunnell said there was already £16,000 in the pot, which had been raised from the many fundraising events held at the hall.

The building will be closed until next month while work takes place, but is due to reopen on September 3 ready for the autumn season.

The first event planned is A Night of Orbison with Lars Young on Saturday, September 9, while a bingo evening will take place on Saturday, September 17, to raise money for the project and an appeal to build a well in Uganda.

For an application form to support the scheme or to book a show visit the box office, which is still open, between 10am and 3pm from Monday to Saturday, or call 01502 770060.

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