Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Sunday, 12 July 2009 16:08 UK

Actor backs 3.5m theatre revamp

Richard Briers at the Theatre Royal
Richard Briers is a patron of the Theatre Royal

Good Life actor Richard Briers is to launch a £3.5m restoration project for Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

The revamp of the Grade I Listed theatre is due to be completed in time for its 175th birthday in 2012.

The restoration will include conservation measures to protect its famous Portico on Grey Street which has been damaged by rainwater.

New seating will also be installed at all levels of the auditorium as well as new lighting and ventilation systems.

Mr Briers said: "The Theatre Royal is one of our most distinguished theatres with which I have a very long association, having first appeared here in 1958 in "Gilt and Gingerbread".

"It is a great honour to be asked here again to launch this fantastic restoration project."

Philip Bernays, chief executive of the Theatre Royal, said: "The theatre is not only one of the most impressive buildings in Britain, but it is also a major monument of civic pride.

"It has a place in the hearts and minds of every person in the North East and also many further afield."



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