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Cash mountain to climb for theatre

PUBLISHED: 14:46 26 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:08 03 July 2010

The first act in a refurbishment drama for Great Yarmouth's St George's Theatre is under way - but backers face a tough task finding funds to complete it.

The first act in a refurbishment drama for Great Yarmouth's St George's Theatre is under way - but backers face a tough task finding funds to complete it.

As the people behind its reinvention as an arts venue prepared to ask for public help to contribute ideas at a series of exhibitions, it emerged that the final match- funding picture was incomplete.

Graham Plant, borough council cabinet member for tourism, said CABE, the government body that was putting up most of the money, had withdrawn £1m for a highways element of the scheme and that the East of England Development Agency had yet to commit to its crucial £1.7m share.

But, with huge public support for the scheme, hopes are high that a solution is not far off.

The ambitious project that seeks to transform the Grade I-listed building is considered a key part of a major regeneration scheme which includes Edwardian King Street as well.

But Mr Plant said the project had also run into problems with English Heritage, which was unhappy about a proposed glass extension to the building.

People can see a three-dimensional fly-through DVD of the plans and add their own ideas at a series of events next month.

The first is next Saturday, March 7, when Norfolk County Council, the borough council, Seachange Arts and Comeunity host a stand at the Inspire-Aspire Great Yarmouth People event at the Marina Centre.

Culture, sport and leisure manager Marie Hartley said: “One of the most exciting things about this project is that space around St George's will be pedestrianised to create an area where outdoor

events and activities

of all kinds can be featured.

“The building offers all kinds of opportunities, but we are keen to know what you want it to do for you or your group.

“We are aiming for a vibrant, all-year-round programme that will have appeal to the widest possible audience.”

“We are now at the stage where we are saying: 'This is what we can do -

does it match your aspirations?'”

Three other manned exhibitions will take place later in the month at Market Gates on March 14 and 18 and at Christchurch, in King Street, from 5pm to 8pm.

From March 9, the fly-through DVD will be available on www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk or www.comeunity.info.

To have your say contact Marie Hartley

on 01493 846354, or you can email mlh@great-yarmouth.gov.uk

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