A former church is set to be transformed into a brand new theatre for the community and a school.
Bedford School is set to convert the former St Luke’s Church on St Peter’s Street into a new theatre after it received the go ahead from Bedford Borough Council
The school bought the Grade II listed building in 2008, and since then it has been coming up with a plan of what to do with it.
Bedford Theatre manager James Pharoah said: “We had been looking at what we could do with the building, and I brought a friend who is a theatre designer to have a look, and it kind of went on from there.
“We have a great theatre at the moment, but you have to go through the school to get it, so the location of this will mean people can access it from town. There is no really a town centre theatre, so this is going to be great for both the school and the community.”
The theatre will replace the current building used as a theatre, and is set to be built by 2015. It will cater for up to 300 people and will be used for professional theatre companies, school shows and amateur dramatic groups.
Headteacher John Moule, said: “I’m thrilled that the school will be able to create a new theatre for Bedford.
“St Luke’s represents a unique chance to provide an outstanding facility that not only encourages performing arts in the school and the locality but also provides a visual and practical demonstration of the importance of the relationship between town and school. It is a hugely exciting project.”
“We will be launching a major appeal in the coming months, but are especially grateful to two Old Bedfordians, with close links to the town, who have kick-started the fundraising with their very generous donations, one through a legacy.
“We hope that other members of the community will follow their lead in supporting this project.”
Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson said: “The creation of an inspirational venue for the performing arts in this historic location is extremely exciting.
“The new theatre will be a major boost for the arts in Bedford, with the potential to bring an array of cultural benefits for the community.”