Actress Sam Womack this week launched a project to create a new 400-seat theatre in Letchworth Garden City as part of a £4m investment in the arts.
Sam, whose career has made her a household name in television and theatre, lives near the Herts town and said she was “excited” at the prospect of the first major professional theatre in the town which will be an addition to its Art Deco-style Broadway Cinema.
She said: “It’s really exciting to have this new theatre locally, in this lovely building. We have had many happy visits to the cinema and I look forward to the theatre coming this autumn.”
The theatre marks a major investment in the arts by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation which is using the revenue from its unique garden city legacy to make the town a major centre for the arts.
A new art gallery, the Broadway, opened yesterday with a major show by international modern art pioneer Richard Smith. Smith was born and raised in Letchworth and went on to have his work showcased at the Venice Biennale and the Tate Gallery.
Colin Chatfield, chairman of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation said: “It is great to have Sam Womack along to launch the build of our new theatre and highlights the calibre of actors and shows we will attract when the theatre opens later this year. It’s going to be an exciting year for the arts in Letchworth.”
Work on the theatre begins this Monday with builders working seven days a week in order to keep the work as short as possible while allowing the cinema to remain open. The design of the new theatre will be in sympathy with the building’s existing Art Deco design.
Dressing rooms and a stage will be added to Screen One so it can be changed from a cinema to theatre, and back, overnight, allowing it to host theatre, children’s shows, live comedy and acoustic music, as well as mainstream films.
Theatre previews and back stage tours are already being planned for November ahead of the first theatre season in 2017.