Page last updated at 07:59 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 08:59 UK

New plan to reopen theatre early

Bristol Old Vic
The theatre company will be reformed early in 2009

Major refurbishment work on Bristol's Old Vic theatre has been put on hold as plans are made to reopen the venue.

The theatre, which temporarily closed last summer for a refit, has been struggling with a cash crisis.

But at a public meeting on Thursday, the new management said the theatre company would be reformed early next year after safety work was carried out.

Work to revamp the auditorium will not take place until 2010 when the Old Vic could move to the L Shed.

The L Shed is a large space in the Industrial Museum which is available for hire.

'Dynamic resource'

Peter Leppard, vice chairman of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Club, said: "What they're hoping to do this autumn is to put in essential safety work so theatre meets its safety licence.

"Then they'll reopen the theatre in 2009 with a full programme."

The theatre management said its short term goal was to reinvent the Old Vic as a "dynamic and sustainable producer and resource for theatre in Bristol".

"The long term goal is to create the conditions under which BOV can produce world class theatre for and with the people of Bristol," it said.

Actor Patrick Malahide added: "They're hugely ambitious [plans] and you don't get anywhere without ambition.

"We have a long way to go of course, but over the next five to 10 years, we'll see this building, this street, turned into the best regional theatre in the UK, if not Europe."

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