Norwich theatre’s plans for training centre move closer

Plans for a flagship training centre in Norwich to teach young people across the region backstage theatre skills have moved a step closer.

A feasibility study is being commissioned to investigate plans for the new project which will be linked to the city's Theatre Royal.

The news comes as the Theatre Street venue revealed more than 379,000 tickets were sold in the last financial year – the second highest number in the theatre's history.

Plans for the new centre, revealed at the theatre's annual meeting today (Friday), will build on the theatre's workshops and art courses and will be a first for a theatre of the Theatre Royal's size.

Peter Wilson, the theatre's chief executive, said: 'For us to be building a purpose-built education centre is pretty special and we know there is a case for it.


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'The scoping phase is now over and we know what we want. Our trustees have accepted, with commendable caution, that we should now enter the practical phase where we examine the feasibility. We will now be looking at the where and the how.'

Today's also heard how tickets sales generated a trading surplus of �288,000, all of which will be reinvested in the Theatre Royal, and that the average occupancy of the theatre was 76pc, a four per cent increase year-on-year, with a 97pc occupancy for the cheapest seats.

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It was also heard that the theatre compares favourably in a national study to 14 other venues of a similar size with higher ticket sales than the national average. Community support for the Theatre Royal is higher than ever with the total number of Friends totalling 11,498, almost 9,700 more than the survey's national average.

Mr Wilson added: 'The Theatre Royal really came into its own after the modernisation and we had a lot more productions and we were really busy. I'm optimistic about the year we are in and the new season is very strong indeed. With the help of many donors, principally Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council, we have created a great theatre that delivers great art for everyone.'

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

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