A MAJOR multi-million pound project to upgrade and revitalise Reading’s main theatre is moving ahead.

Reading Borough Council has pledged to upgrade the ageing Hexagon Theatre which was first built in the town centre in the 1970s.

Situated near the Broad Street Mall, the theatre is a destination for actors, performing artists, comedians and bigger events such as wrestling and ballroom dancing.

Plans are in place to extend the theatre to provide a new multi-function community space and improved accessibility.

The regeneration of The Hexagon has been enabled by £13.7 million of funding which was given to the council from the department of levelling up, housing and communities in January.

Reading Borough Council has ‘match-funded’ the £13.7 million given by the government by 10 per cent taken from its capital budget.

READ MORE: Reading wins £19.1 million from government to revitalise Hexagon and new library

Now, contractors have been selected to move ahead with the project.

The local authority has appointed Haworth Tompkins as the lead architect and Equals Consulting to manage the project, an independent project management consultancy formed by construction industry professionals with theatre experience.

The contract appointments were announced on Wednesday, July 12.

Reading Chronicle: A CGI of Reading Borough Council's plan for The Hexagon theatre, if it receives £20 million in funding to improve the arts from the Government. Credit: Reading Borough CouncilA CGI of Reading Borough Council's plan for The Hexagon theatre, if it receives £20 million in funding to improve the arts from the Government. Credit: Reading Borough Council

Emma Gee, the council’s interim executive director for economic growth and neighbourhood services, said: “This announcement heralds an exciting first step towards revitalising our popular Hexagon Theatre, including a brand new and additional flexible performance and community space.

“This is further incredible news for Reading and once again confirms the Council’s strong track record of successfully attracting external investment and the highest quality project support to benefit local residents and our ability to deliver against investment.

“We are incredibly proud of the calibre of the team we have onboard with us to help us achieve this ambitious goal.”

The executive director added: “The Hexagon Theatre is a much-cherished and well-established institution, both in Reading and across the wider region, but it comes with limitations.

“With our successful bid and with an internationally renowned team onboard, we now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform and breathe new life into this service, while also supercharging our broader plans for redevelopment of the Minster Quarter and to create new benefits and opportunities for everybody in the town.”

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The architect Haworth Tompkins previously undertook work on The National Theatre ‘Futures’ Project and the refurbishment of Chichester Festival Theatre.

Lucy Picardo the director lead of the project from Haworth Tompkins, said: “We’re thrilled to be appointed. Building upon our extensive experience, working on over 30 performing arts projects, we are excited to be given the opportunity to work alongside Reading Council to develop proposals for an ambitious, sustainable, adaptable theatre and community space next to the Hexagon Theatre.

“Alongside our dedicated and creative team, and with valuable input from the local community, we’re looking forward to unlocking the potential of this iconic theatre for staff, performers and visitors alike.”