St Ives Theatre to be brought back to life thanks to £1.5m regeneration project

St Ives Theatre is having £1.5m spent on it Credit: Google Maps

A £1.5m regeneration project is set to give St Ives Theatre a new lease of life. 

The theatre has received its first grant payment of £109,000 from the St Ives Town Deal Fund as part of the project. 

Planning permission for the regeneration project was granted in January, with work on the first phase – the roof and façade of the converted Wesleyan chapel – beginning later the same month.

Led by Shaun Rothwell and a team from Rothwell Historical Restoration, this phase was completed at the beginning of April enabling the theatre to stage its summer programme.

Work on the second phase of the project is currently due to begin in early January.

The theatre is home to award-winning youth theatre company Kidz R Us which works with about 100 children, teenagers and young adults every year. 

The group was formed by Phil Barnett in 1994 to encourage young people to get involved in the performing arts and support their development and the wider community.

Phil Barnett said: “As well as saving a historic building, our project will help to develop the existing theatre into a leading tourist attraction for the town, lengthening the season with more performances, daytime workshops and outreach programmes for schools.

“It will also provide a facility for touring theatrical companies; improve the visitor experience and support the further expansion of theatre opportunities for local children and young people. 

“This will help to provide more permanent jobs and help us to introduce young performers and young audiences to the performing arts.”

Gareth Jones, vice chair of the St Ives Town Deal Board, said: “This fantastic project will see this cultural asset reconfigured and upgraded to provide an extended auditorium and new café/bar and reception area and help the long term sustainability of the charity.

“We are delighted to provide the first grant payment to the project team and look forward to seeing work begin next year on the next phase of the scheme.”

Councillor Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council’s economy portfolio holder, said: “I’m pleased to see more and more local organisations in St Ives and across Cornwall receiving their funding from the Town Deal to enable the construction work to start. 

“This project will not only benefit the local community, especially the young performers involved, but also help create jobs and increase income for the Kidz R Us charity.”