The building is a cutting edge design, officials say
Leicester's Curve theatre cost local taxpayers almost £35m, nearly eight times the first estimate.
When the theatre plan was unveiled in 2000, it had a budget of £26m with the city directly paying £4.4m.
But changing designs and rising costs more than doubled the overall price tag to £61m while a sponsorship shortfall sent the city's contribution soaring.
The council said the project had delivered a world-class venue despite difficult economic conditions.
Curve was designed to replace the Haymarket theatre, which had struggled with financial problems for several years.
Originally expected to open in 2006, Curve hosted its first performances at the end of 2008.
It has two auditoriums, one seating 750 people, the other 350, which can be combined into one theatre space.
Councillor Andy Connelly, the city council's spokesman for culture, said: "In the long term this will represent value for money.
"It is a stunning building, there is nothing else like it in the world and it has acted as a magnet for other investment in the city.
"It is a lot of money, I can't deny that, but Curve it a big part of the jigsaw for the regeneration of Leicester."