Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Sunday, 22 June 2008 12:26 UK

Holland backs 25.5m new theatre

Jools Holland
Jools Holland lives near Rochester with his wife and family

Musician and TV presenter Jools Holland has become a patron of the 25.5m campaign to refurbish a Kent theatre.

Holland joins actors Orlando Bloom and Joanna Lumley as one of 14 patrons of the New Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.

They are backing the theatre's campaign to raise 6m from private donations towards the project.

The rest of the funding is coming from Canterbury City Council, Kent County Council, and the South East England Development Agency.

"For many years, the South East has needed a major venue which can attract world-class productions and performers and the New Marlowe Theatre will at last make this possible," said Holland, who lilves in Kent.

"I am also thrilled that the new theatre will put so much emphasis on education and development."

The theatre will include a new 1,200-seat auditorium and a second producing and performing space.

Enhanced public areas will include a foyer, restaurants and bars, a riverside walk and a city-centre piazza.

The 150-seat "second space" will have a strong emphasis on developing and promoting young talent via links with the local community, schools and universities.

Planning applications are expected to be considered by the city council later this year.

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