The delighted manager of Burnham-On-Sea’s Princess Theatre has said she is “thrilled to bits” that the facilities are to get a major refurbishment following a huge cash injection this week.

As first reported, Burnham-On-Sea’s seafront and theatre are to receive £350,000 of funding after a major funding bid to Hinkley Point’s Community Impact Mitigation Fund was approved on Wednesday.

Sam Nicol, the Princess Theatre’s manager, told “We are thrilled to bits – it’s really wonderful news that Burnham is receiving this EDF funding.”

The total cost of the theatre improvements are expected to be £220,000 with £163,000 coming from the EDF funding secured this week, plus £7,000 from the Town Council, and a further £50,000 from the UK Coastal Revival Fund, where a decision is awaited.

How the funding will improve The Princess Theatre

Sam outlined how a number of significant changes will be made to the theatre using the funds.

“The theatre’s seating has been there in its current form since the 1995 launch and its design makes it very difficult to set up for the volunteers. This funding will allow us to introduce new seating that will be safer, easier to set up and more comfortable for the audience.”

Princess Theatre seating in Burnham-On-Sea

“The whole building will be redecorated and will also get new carpets – it will be a modern, smart theatre that Burnham will be proud of.”

She added: “The doors across the building will be replaced to make them better at conserving heat and therefore making the theatre more economic and ecological to run. Several windows will be replaced to provide better insulation and sound proofing, while retaining the character of the building.”

“The Pizey meeting room upstairs will also be overhauled to include a smart board and video facilities to make it ideal for training or modern meetings.”

Other improvements will see the theatre’s toilets refurbished, the mechanical stage winches upgraded, and new replacement blinds introduced in the auditorium to black out daylight for matinee performances.

“The theatre’s Arts Lounge will also be updated. It will maintain the modern cafe feel, but we will also introduce better lighting to display artwork on the walls.”

Sam added: “We are hugely grateful to all of the Burnham Evolution team who helped put the grant funding bid together and worked so hard on our behalf. There are exciting times ahead for The Princess.”

History of Burnham’s Princess Theatre

The property was built in 1868-1869 and used for local government administration. It was originally known as the Princess Hall.

It also saw service as Burnham’s fire station, as pictured above, with large folding doors constructed in the left hand frontage for vehicle access. The same design of stonework has been retained and is still visible today.

Sedgemoor District Council had been responsible for the building since a local Government re-organisation in 1974, but in 2011 its financial position meant it could no longer afford to run it.

The Princess Theatre was bought by Burnham and Highbridge Town Council in 2011, when it was acquired from Sedgemoor District Council for the nominal sum of £1.


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