New Mills Art Theatre in Derbyshire

Seats from the auditorium of London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane have been donated to three regional theatres.

The West End venue has gone dark for a £45 million redevelopment, in which the auditorium will be remodelled as a flexible space with all seating replaced.

In September last year, the theatre announced it would be giving the seats to a “good home”.

Now three volunteer-led theatres have been chosen to receive more than 1,250 of the seats, including New Mills Art Theatre in Derbyshire, the Olympus Theatre in Gloucester and Bacup’s Royal Court Theatre.

Phil McCormick from the Gloucester Theatre Association said the donation of 450 seats to the Olympus Theatre would help with plans to restore and reopen the venue, which has been closed since 2015.

He said: “This gift is invaluable in our quest to save, fully restore and reopen Gloucester’s only remaining purpose-built theatre.”

Bacup’s Royal Court received 300 seats, while New Mills Art Theatre was given 500.

Royal Court Theatre director Nick Daye said: “Our old theatre has been a hub for the local area for 130 years and is solely run by volunteers without local funding, which has made it hard to do any major refurbishments. The 300 seats we can now replace are over 100 years old, some of them are beyond repair. They will add a much-needed facelift to the auditorium.”

LW Theatres chief executive Rebecca Kane Burton said the organisation was “thrilled” to recycle part of the theatre’s history and “add real value” to regional theatres.

“We look forward to following the journey from Theatre Royal Drury Lane to their new life enjoyed by new audiences around the UK,” she added. Theatre Royal Drury Lane is set to reopen in 2020 with the transfer of a Broadway show.

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Giverny Masso

Giverny joined The Stage as a reporter in February 2017.

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