Burnham-On-Sea’s Princess Theatre is to be given a £50,000 external overhaul this year as part of a major modernisation project.

Town councillors in Burnham have approved a raft of improvements to the outside of the theatre, including urgent roof repairs.

The council’s Princess Management Committee has over the past month completed a competitive tendering process and agreed that a local building firm be appointed to undertake the £49,744 of work.

The cash has been allocated from £90,640 of ‘transitional funding’ which the Town Council received from Sedgemoor District Council during last year’s handover of the building.

At the same time, thousand of pounds have also been earmarked for interior upgrades. The Town Council’s business adviser has submitted an application for £25,000 of grant funding from LARC (Local Action For Rural Communities), which will be matched by £30,000 from the council, to enable improvements to be made to the kitchen and bar area.

Plans for a set of new £30,000 solar panels on top of the theatre are also proceeding with the installation set to be completed by April.

During a presentation to the Town Council on Monday night, theatre manager Andy Pulleyn (pictured) said a busy programme of events is being scheduled around the improvements.

A dozen events are to be staged by The Princess in coming months – featuring music, drama and comedy – in addition to scores of activities run by local groups.

He said the 65th Highbridge Festival of The Arts will open at The Princess on February 29th, and a Queen tribute night is also to be held on March 16th.

Andy added that The Princess is also seeking to develop new partnerships with local artists and art groups to display material in the building and turn it into an ‘art hub’, supported by the creation of new drama groups and training courses.

A new quarterly what’s on guide to promote the theatre’s events will soon be distributed to every home in Burnham. Members of the Princess Management Committee (pictured holding the new guides) have given their approval to the publication.

The theatre’s new cafe – which will soon offer free wi-fi access – launched last month and is being operated alongside its new box office which is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am-3pm.

Andy added: “A recent survey found that a large proportion of residents in Burnham do not have a car and therefore do not want to travel to Weston or further afield for entertainment. Fortunately, there is plenty of quality entertainment right here on their doorstep.”

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