Commitment to the arts in Somerset further bolstered...
Released On 8th Jan 2023
The creation of a flagship venue for the arts and entertainment in Somerset has moved a step closer after South Somerset District Council’s District Executive agreed to recommend to Full Council to progress the redevelopment of The Octagon Theatre to tender stage so that building contractors may bid for the works in a competitive process.
The Octagon Theatre is set to be redeveloped and plans will see the venue transformed into a centre of excellence that will spark economic regeneration for the area and so many opportunities for residents to improve their well-being. It will provide amazing opportunities for residents to see world class artists in Somerset and the project is seen by Arts Council England as a symbol for the renewed commitment to arts by local government in Somerset.
The decision by District Executive on Thursday 5 January will mean that pending approval at Full Council later this month, building contractors will shortly be able to bid for works in a competitive process.
Councillor Mike Best, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing at South Somerset District Council, said: “We see the redevelopment of the Flagship Arts Venue as not only about the redevelopment of a building, but also being able to reach out into the community to improve access to the arts and this decision today by District Executive reaffirms our commitment to deliver this not only district-wide, but across Somerset and beyond.
“As the new Unitary Council is established, and in line with the anticipated delivery of a new Cultural Strategy for Somerset, there will be opportunities to develop a more considered culture offer across Somerset. The redeveloped Octagon Theatre will become a hub for Somerset whereby we can deliver this.”
The Octagon Theatre is on track to close its doors to visitors at the end of April and represents one of the largest cultural venue redevelopment projects in Somerset. The proposed Octagon Theatre will include:
- An increased seating capacity in the main auditorium from 622 to 900, with enhanced technical facilities that will improve the comfort for audiences.
- Two new smaller cinema/studio spaces predominately for film screenings but also able to host smaller scale live performances.
- A dance studio which will become the new home for our popular Octagon Academy and be the perfect place for all dance classes. It will be a rehearsal space where local dancers of all ages learn new skills, develop their talents and prepare for performances on stage.
- A community studio offering an alternative space for additional classes. Rehearsals including our popular choir, theatre groups, and arts and craft workshops.
- A greatly improved café bar area open throughout the day for the public and patrons to enjoy and relax.
- Improved front of house and customer facilities
- Improved backstage accessibility
- The construction of a fly tower which can be used for flying scenery, enabling larger visiting companies to use our venue which would bring a new range of shows and entertainment to Yeovil.
- A Changing Places Toilet for those with additional needs that we hope will make our venue, the town centre and Yeovil Country Park more accessible.
A final decision will be made by South Somerset District Council’s Full Council on Thursday 19 January, following the recommendation to approve to progress the project to tender stage by District Executive.
You can find out more about the Octagon Theatre redevelopment on the Octagon Theatre website.
Image credit: The Octagon Theatre