Experts aim to raise curtain on new era for theatre

EXPERTS have been hired to look at ways in which the theatre in Bognor Regis can be improved.

The Arun consortium will spend the next three months considering how to make the Alexandra Theatre within the Regis Centre better.

It could be with extra seats, the installation of a fly tower to improve the range of productions staged there or facilities for a symphony orchestra.

The results are expected to be available around September to be presented to residents when the long-awaited consultation into the St Modwen multi-million pound regeneration schemes for the Regis Centre seafront site and Hothamton car park in the Queensway go on show.

Anthony Everitt, Arun District Council’s senior economic development officer, said: “We have chosen a consortium with a mix of architects to show what is physically possible with the building and those with knowledge of theatres so we know what needs to be improved there.

“Want we want to know is whether 250 seats is more important than a fly tower or, if improved facilities are provided for a symphony orchestra, would that affect the acoustics for a panto?

“There are an awful lot of complications involved in building a venue for certain types of performances. We also want to know the costs of carrying out the work.”

The district council’s appointment of Arup follows the previously-reported change of heart about the Regis Centre’s future. Previous schemes for the site have involved demolition of the building for a fresh start.

But Arun now accepts improving the existing auditorium, with 358 seats and widely-admired backstage facilities, is more sensible.

The centre is run by the Arun Arts charity with very little outside funding. One of its major users in recent years has become the University of Chichester to give its students the chance to perform and stage shows in a live theatre. It could also base its symphony orchestra there.