Plans unveiled for £29m upgrade of Yeovil's Octagon Theatre

Artist's impression of the upgraded Octagon theatre Credit: LDRS / South Somerset District Council

Official plans for a £29 million theatre upgrade in Somerset have been released.

The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil is set to be fully refurbished in 2023. It is hoped the new-look will attract big shows and high-profile acts.

The space, which first opened its doors as a multi-purpose hall in 1974, will provide a community hub for the town. This will feature a dance studio, extended theatre space and two smaller cinema rooms.

South Somerset District Council announced its plans to upgrade the venue in December 2020.

£6 million worth of additional funding was confirmed, in light of rising construction costs.

In a two-day consultation event held in July, attended by over 70 residents, it was proposed that the theatre would close its doors in early 2023 for construction work to start.

The revamped octagon theatre will include:

  • An auditorium with increased seating capacity - from 622 to 900 seats

  • Enhanced technical facilities that will improve audience comfort

  • Two new smaller cinema/ studio spaces for film screenings and smaller scale live performances

  • A dance studio, the new home for the Octagon Academy

  • A community studio, offering space for choirs, theatre groups and craft workshops

  • A new café and bar area

  • Increased accessibility, including a changing places toilet for those with additional needs

  • The construction of a fly tower, which can be used for flying scenery

An artists' impression of the redeveloped Octagon Theatre from Petters Way car park Credit: LDRS / South Somerset District Council

A spokesperson for the council, said: “The general principle to improve, update and extend the existing theatre is supported by both national and local policy.

“The scheme would be a positive benefit for the economy and local community and the central location is accessible and suitable for this use.”