Stage set for live shows at Letchworth cinema

Broadway Cinema in Letchworth GC credit: BJP Photography Ltd

Broadway Cinema in Letchworth GC credit: BJP Photography Ltd - Credit: Archant

A cinema will have a new stage for live performances built after the project was given the green light.

The proposed plans for the theatre

The proposed plans for the theatre - Credit: Archant

Planning officers from North Herts District Council approved an application by the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation to build a stage and dressing rooms in Broadway Cinema’s Screen One on Friday.

The plans for the four-screen cinema in Eastcheap, Letchworth GC, also include extending the building into the cinema’s car park behind to allow access for lorries carrying stage equipment.

It is hoped the works, which will enable the cinema to hold events varying from theatre to live comedy and acoustic music, will start in early 2015 and be completed later that year.

In order to provide the additional technical galleries and lighting equipment, the number of seats in Screen One will be reduced from 463 to 411. The other screens will be unaffected.

John Lewis, chief executive of the Heritage Foundation which owns the building,said: “This is a significant step towards making the town a regional centre for the arts.

“We have been encouraged by the success of our live screenings, which show there is an appetite and an audience for live theatre. This is a way to provide much-needed additional facilities in our beautiful Art Deco venue.”

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Jason Valentine, general manager of the cinema, said: “These are exciting plans and I’m looking forward to seeing Broadway expand and develop to offer an even greater range of events for our growing audience.”

It will not be the first expansion of the cinema, which opened in 1936, with the Heritage Foundation paying for a major refurbishment of the cinema in 1995 when two new screens were built.

This was increased to four in 2008 when an area previously used as a restaurant was converted.

Maria Iredale, chief executive of Letchworth Arts Centre which is based in The Arcade, said: “I think it’s fantastic. We have been waiting for planning permission to be granted for a long time. This will give the opportunity for more live theatre in the town which hasn’t been possible for some time.”

Kim Barrett, marketing, events and PR manager for Love Letchworth , said: “This is a great news for the town. Prezzo’s has just opened and soon we will have live theatre in the town which can only be a good thing.”

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