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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 11:32 GMT
Theatre buys up adjoining garage
Beaney Institute
The Beaney Institute is to be part of the new cultural quarter
The redevelopment of a Kent theatre into a flagship cultural venue is to include the purchase of a garage next door to create a larger complex.

The South East England Development Agency (Seeda) is to give 2m of the 24m cost of the Marlowe Theatre scheme in Canterbury so it can buy The Friars.

The purchase of the property will also improve access, Seeda said.

The agency is also to give 975,000 towards the restoration of the Grade-II listed Beaney Institute in Canterbury.

Education and training

Canterbury City Council voted in favour of the new 1,200-seat Marlowe Theatre last month.

The refurbishment includes a new, three-tier auditorium, and a second, smaller, more flexible performance space to provide education and training.

The Earl of Wessex is royal patron of a development trust set up to raise the remaining 6m of the overall cost in private donations.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has already contributed 6.5m to the development of the 19th Century Beaney museum and art gallery, which will have a new rear extension.

"The Marlowe Theatre is already very successful, contributing some 13m to the local economy," said Seeda executive director Oona Muirhead.

"The plans for an inspirational new building and cafe-culture experience, together with the community facilities at the Beaney, will transform that part of the city centre into a vibrant cultural quarter."



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