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Theatre in line for multi million pound makeover

Burnley Mechanics Theatre
Burnley Mechanics Theatre
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One of Burnley’s most historic and iconic entertainment venues could be in line for a modern multi million makeover.

The Burnley Mechanics Theatre is the subject of a £2.8m. bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Your Heritage programme, which if accepted will see facilities boosted at the town centre venue.

The project would see a new roof, the opening out of the grand staircase from the first floor auditorium to the foyer, and bring now closed spaces back into use in the Grade II listed building.

A joint project between Burnley Borough Council and Burnley Leisure Trust, the bid has now passed the first stage with council, and a second report now submitted.

Burnley Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend said the redevelopment would bring the Mechanics into the 21st Century.

He said: “I think this is a really exciting opportunity to bring the Burnley Mechanics into the 21st Century, while also maintaining its heritage.

“I am hopeful we can win this bid and secure the funding to make it a reality for future generations.

“The Burnley Mechanics Theatre is an iconic building in the centre of town and we want to make the most of this facility.”

The council has already set aside £300,000 for roof repairs that will now be used as the ‘match funding’ necessary for the heritage lottery bid to succeed.

In a report to full council, Coun. Lian Pate said: “If the application is successful the Heritage Lottery Fund will award a grant to develop detailed proposals for the scheme that will include converting the ground floor into new dance studios and workshops, visitor facilities, develop educational use of the building and celebrate the heritage of this important building.

“This is a major project to bring the Mechanics, a key part of Burnley’s Victorian heritage, into the 21st Century and make it viable for another 150 years.”

Designed by architect James Green of Todmorden, Burnley Mechanics opened its doors in 1855 as a shining example of the Mechanics Movement.

Built at a cost of around £3,000 it opened with a library, class rooms and a hall.