EastEnders star launches Letchworth theatre project as part of £4m arts investment in town

Eastenders star Sam Womack on hand to launch the start of building work on the Broadway Theatre in L

Eastenders star Sam Womack on hand to launch the start of building work on the Broadway Theatre in Letchworth. - Credit: Archant

An EastEnders star popped into Letchworth on Sunday to launch a project to create a theatre in the town as part of a £4 million investment in the arts.

Actress Sam Womack – who is best known for playing feisty Ronnie Mitchell in the BBC staple – was in the town to mark the first stage of the development of the Broadway Cinema, which will see a 400-seat theatre built as an addition to the Eastcheap favourite.

The work – which begins on Monday and will see builders on site seven days a week – will continue until late 2016 with theatre previews and back stage tours taking place in November ahead of the first theatre season in 2017.

Dressing rooms and a stage will be added to screen one so it can be changed from a cinema to theatre, and back, overnight, allowing it to host plays, children’s shows, live comedy and acoustic music, as well as mainstream films – there will also be a new bar area and an added air cooling system.

Sam, who lives in Cardington near Bedford, said: “It’s really exciting to have this new theatre locally, in this lovely building.

“We have had many happy visits to the cinema and I look forward to the theatre coming this autumn.”

The theatre marks a major investment in the arts by the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, which is bidding to use its revenue to make the town a major centre for the arts.

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Foundation chairman Colin Chatfield said: “It is great to have Sam along to launch the build of our new theatre, and highlights the calibre of actors and shows we will attract when the theatre opens later this year.

“It’s going to be an exciting year for the arts in Letchworth.”

During the building work the cinema will be open from 4pm on Monday to Friday and from 3pm at the weekend.

Also opening in the town tomorrow is the new Broadway Gallery – with a major show by Letchworth-born pop artist pioneer Richard Smith marking the refurbishment of the old Letchworth Arts Centre.

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