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Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Mitchell Memorial Theatre renovation is 'on schedule'
Mitchell Memorial Theatre
Refurbishment work on the theatre is expected to finish in march 2011

A major refurbishment of the Mitchell Memorial theatre is running to plan, according to city councillors.

The Broad Street venue closed in April 2009, after more than 50 years as the city's top amateur dramatics venue.

It is due to re-open in March 2011 as a youth arts centre.

Councillor Hazel Lyth, cabinet member for economic development and culture said: "Once work is done, it'll be a lovely iconic building to set off the new business development quarter."

Contractors have put up scaffolding right around the building, and covered the roof in plastic, so they could carry on working through recent wet and snowy weather.

"That's been a major issue throughout the winter, but work's going incredibly well and is on schedule," said Councillor Lyth.

"The contractors made a huge effort for it to be dry, so that the people could carry on working despite the bad weather."

No more 'numb bums'

When finished, the theatre will have new dressing rooms, a cafe and bar, a revamped backstage area, a roof terrace, and a dance studio with sprung floor.

"It's a massive job, costing millions of pounds," said Councillor Lyth.

"We're ripping out the whole inside of the theatre, putting in decent spaces to hold new workshops for dance and drama.

"Most importantly there's going to be new seats, so people won't get numb bums from sitting on those old hard ones."

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has put in £2.1 million to the refurbishment work, with £1.9 million coming from the government.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust are putting in around £280,000.

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