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Sunday, 13 July 2014

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Curtain goes up on new-look theatre in Cumbria

THE first phase of a £370,000 refurbishment of a theatre has been completed.

Councillors Barbara Cannon and Mark Fryer announced that Allerdale Council would be investing a further £150,000 to upgrade Monroe’s Bar, within the Carnegie Theatre in Workington on Finkle Street, to bring it up-to-date with other bars in the area.

Works could include exposing the original windows in the bar, putting in double glazing and replacing the wooden bar area.

Mrs Cannon said yesterday the money could also be used to revamp the foyer area and put in new showers.

The money will come out of contingencies and the council is looking at ways it could match fund the cash.

It is hoped work would start in the New Year.

“This is just stage one of the refurbishment of a building which is much loved by people not just in Workington but further afield,” she said.

“The theatre is used by so many groups in the town and we want it to have a sustainable future.

“Ideally we would like to get an architect in to re-design the bar and the performance area near the bar. We are hoping it would be something quite special and would fit in with early evening and night time bars in the area.”

The first phase, which cost £220,000 and included a £96,000 grant from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, included opening up the balcony area to provide additional leg room, installing removable seating and revamping public toilets and its five dressing rooms.

An old lighting box at the back of the balcony has been knocked down and will be used as a second bar area or to provide extra seating for larger performances.

The theatre will seat around 325 people and accommodate around 490 for a concert.

Mr Fryer said: “I’m immensely proud of the work that has been completed so far. The future of the Carnegie is looking rosy.

“We made a promise to invest in the theatre and it’s great to be able to deliver on that promise.”

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