Curtain up on Hitchin theatre

WORK has begun on a new youth theatre building a year after fundraising efforts began. The project to create a dedicated youth wing at Hitchin s Queen Mother Theatre took a major step forward last week as builders began work exactly one year after an ap

WORK has begun on a new youth theatre building a year after fundraising efforts began.

The project to create a dedicated youth wing at Hitchin's Queen Mother Theatre took a major step forward last week as builders began work exactly one year after an appeal for �200,000 was launched by the Bancroft Players Drama Group.

Group chairman, Richard Whitmore, said: "It's been an incredible year. Despite the difficult economic times we have managed to raise well over �130,000 which is sufficient for us to begin work on the first and most important part of the extension. This will give our two youth groups a decent rehearsal studio of their own. It will also ease pressure on the rest of the theatre, where we can have as many as four shows in production at any one time.

"We hope that once they see work is under way, more people will be encouraged to donate. We still need to raise at least �60,000 to complete stage two of the project which involves converting a studio adjacent to the main theatre into a mini theatre that will serve as a rehearsal area, theatre and cinema."

News that work had started was given to members and supporters at a Hallowe'en Night Gala Dinner in the theatre, hosted by patron Christopher Biggins. The event raised more than �3000 for the appeal.