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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Arts centre criticism is rejected
Design for new theatre
The council's contribution to the project may be 36.8m
Leicester's much anticipated Performing Arts Centre will not become a white elephant, the leader of the city council has insisted.

A national newspaper has voiced concern that the theatre, which will have 400 more seats than the old Haymarket, may never be full.

But Ross Wilmott insists the theatre will be financially viable and will attract audiences from far and wide.

In January the council admitted the centre's costs had risen to 59m.

The Daily Telegraph report applauded the city's ambition but wondered if the centre would struggle to attract productions and audiences away from Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham and Derby.

Opening delayed

Mr Wilmott rejected this, saying there have been doubters from the start.

"It is interesting that a lot of people were once critical in saying that it wasn't big enough - now people are saying it is too big," he said.

"This indicates to me that we have got it about right, with the two auditoria, one at 750 and one at 350.

"They are complimentary, they can work together, they can work separately. I think it is going to be absolutely brilliant."

Along with the increased costs, the centre's opening has also been put back to mid 2008.

Arts centre budget rises to 59m
16 Jan 07 |  Leicestershire
Art centre delay costs city 2.5m
16 Oct 06 |  Leicestershire
Council supports 47m arts centre
07 Jun 05 |  Leicestershire
Change of control at city council
12 May 05 |  Leicestershire
Drama at theatre's frontage plans
13 Jan 05 |  Leicestershire


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