Multi-million-pound plans for a radical redevelopment of Perth Theatre has reached a major milestone.
The ambitious bid to restore the 115-year-old venue to its former glory was unanimously backed by councillors.
Horsecross Arts which is spearheading the new build lodged its plans for the £16.5 million transformation just 10 weeks ago.
The plan which includes an overhaul of the main, Edwardian auditorium and the creation of a second, 200-capacity studio theatre was formally backed at a meeting of Perth and Kinross Council’s development management committee.
Convener Tom Gray said: “This has been a much-anticipated development.”
The plans were unveiled and discussed with locals at a series of open sessions this year.
Last night Horsecross Arts chief executive Gwilym Gibbons said: “We are delighted at this major leap forward on the path to transform Perth Theatre.
“Now that the plans have been approved, the project will move forward in earnest. Such was the interest in our open sessions in April, we are delighted to invite the public along to meet us once again, due to popular demand.
“The restored and redeveloped Perth Theatre will be at the heart of the community and the cultural map of Scotland for many generations to come and it is important that the local community get the opportunity to have their say and play their part.”
The aim of the project is to revitalise the venue, one of Scotland’s oldest and best-loved theatres, for future generations. The exterior canopy on High Street will be retained.
The new-look premises will have more workshop space for community projects, including the thriving Perth Youth Theatre, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.
Horsecross has been pledged £15.1m for the redevelopment from project partners Perth and Kinross Council, Creative Scotland, the Gannochy Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as generous sponsors and other funding bodies. Fundraising is ongoing for the final £1.5m needed to ensure the new venue is fully equipped.