The Trust managing the historic Marina Theatre in Lowestoft has announced major expansion plans this week which are set to coincide with its current auditorium restoration and refurbishment works.

Ambitious plans to extend the Theatres public areas including the creation of a ground floor bar & catering offer, new office facilities and improvements to the venues loading area are at an advanced stage, and subject to planning approval and available funds could be open this autumn.

The Trust has secured the lease on the former Zenith call centre next door to the Marina Theatre which will see the creation of the new catering area for patrons as well as relocation of the box office from the current cramped foyer to the new building, as well as new office accommodation and loading area for the stage.

Planning permission is currently being sought to link the two buildings together which is hoped will run in tandem with the current £250k investment bringing major improvements to the theatre seating, décor & carpets along with the installation of a Digital 3D Cinema System and other technical works. 
This week the Trust, in association with the Friends of the Marina, has launched a major public appeal to enable a link between the two buildings to be created. ‘The Next Stage Appeal’ is aimed at joining the two buildings as well as future improvements to both front of house and backstage areas.

There are many ways in which the public and businesses can help including name a seat, sponsorship opportunities and a special board in the foyer which will list names of those contributing. Further details of the appeal are set to be announced soon.

In a joint statement Hazel Clover, Chairman and Martin Halliday, Chief Executive of the Marina Theatre Trust said “We are delighted to announce that the Trust has secured the premises adjacent to the Theatre which will more than treble the ground floor space available and provide an exciting new quality catering offer for our patrons. Improvements are also planned to include access for lorries carrying technical equipment, new office accommodation and a refurbished and relocated box office.”

“Opening the new facilities will improve the customer experience and add sustainability to the Theatre operation. It is our wish to join the two premises together as soon as possible therefore we are announcing our Next Stage Appeal and hope both the public and local business will be able to assist.”

Leading the Next Stage project is Marina Trustee Joe Larter, who is well known to many in the region as the originator of Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park and many other local attractions. Joe has overseen negotiations to take over the new building and will now chair the appeal to raise funds for the future. Joe said “Obtaining the new building is a fantastic opportunity, however to do this properly we need to raise around £100k and there are various ways of doing this which we are currently investigating, which with good public support we can raise at least half of this money soon, we could certainly complete the initial link and be up and running this Autumn.”

To start the ball rolling the Trust has announced that Zenith Home, previous occupiers of the new building have agreed a generous partnership with the Theatre which includes becoming main sponsor of this years Marina Pantomime, Aladdin. This week Natalie Cook, Marketing Director of Zenith officially handed over the keys to the new premises to Marina Trustee Joe Larter. Speaking on behalf of Zenith Natalie said, “The Marina Theatre is a great example of how Zenith can give something back to the local community. We are proud of our association and look forward to a successful partnership for the future.”

The Marina Theatre Trust took over the management of the Marina from Waveney District Council last December the Trust is made up of industry professionals, local business people, Theatre Friends, community leaders & the venues award winning management team.

The main auditorium project is set to be completed in time for the grand re-opening with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on September 14th 2012. 

For details on how you can help with the fundraising please call 01502 533202 or email [email protected]
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