Work to begin on £21m makeover of Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre

From The Argus

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Work to transform two venues as part of a wider £41 million regeneration project will begin next month.

Brighton and Hove City Council has announced it has put the project to restore the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre in the hands of Britain’s oldest construction firm.

The project is the first step in what is hoped to be a transformation of the world-famous Royal Pavilion and Museums estate.

Next month work will start on the £21.5 million first phase to restore the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre including the refurbishment of back of house facilities for staff and performers and new public spaces.

The authority has appointed R. Durtnell & Sons Limited as the contractor for phase one of an ambitious heritage project.

The firm was founded in 1591 and has a proven track record in delivering a number of high-profile heritage restorations including Dulwich Picture Gallery, Turner Contemporary in Margate, and Brighton College’s music school.

Brighton Dome Concert Hall will remain open throughout the redevelopment.

New images, produced by architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, show the transformation of the Corn Exchange, which was built as the Prince Regent’s riding house.

The work will reveal and restore previously hidden heritage features as well as providing extra seating and a new viewing gallery.

The Studio Theatre, which was built as a supper room, will also undergo major improvements with balcony seating, a new artists’ creation space and a café opening onto a plaza at street level.

The majority of funds for the £21 million phase one have already been secured from a range of sources, including Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as charitable trusts, individual donors, council capital funding and a public works loan. Fundraising for the remaining money will continue throughout the build.

Council leader Warren Morgan said: “This is the start of another ambitious project the council and partners have worked hard to bring to fruition.

“The Royal Pavilion Estate attracts visitors from all over the world and the venues make a significant economic contribution to Brighton and Hove.

“The buildings are magnificent but they are facing unique challenges and are in need of refurbishment and upgrade.

“We are very relieved and proud to have found a viable way forward to restore and safeguard these treasured buildings for years to come and look forward to seeing phase one of the project brought to life by the newly appointed construction team.”

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