Darlington's Civic Theatre is set to receive initial support of £5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It’s planned that the £5m funding will be used as part of an £8m project to transform and restore the Grade II listed building to its former Edwardian glory. This includes the restoration of the front exterior of the theatre, the creation of a vaulted bar in the former water tower, improved seating and better disabled access including a lift.

The ambitious plans also include a new education centre and a gallery offering a changing programme of theatre related exhibitions.

There will also be major improvements to backstage areas which will bring the theatre up to modern standards and allow it to accommodate larger touring companies and bigger shows. The remaining money needed for the project will be raised through the restoration ticket levy and through a continued programme of fundraising.

Darlington theatre's exterior will receive restoration works Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The investment is the biggest in the theatre’s history since it opened its doors in 1907. We’re committed to making Darlington a place where the arts matter and where arts and creativity play an important part in the town’s economic success, through this HLF grant we’re well on the way to delivering this.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Bough Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Local Environment