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Contractor chosen for theatre development

The company which built the London 2012 Velodrome has been chosen as the contractors for the New Theatre Royal extension.

ISG Construction Ltd has been appointed to build the major extension to the theatre, as part of a £12 million joint project between the theatre and the University of Portsmouth. It is due to open in summer 2014.

Artist’s impression of the new development

The construction company’s portfolio of projects includes hotels, schools, leisure centres and art galleries, and it is currently working on the Exhibition Centre Liverpool, which will house over 8,000 square metres of flexible event space.

The New Theatre Royal project will include construction of a creative space for film, television and drama students from the University.

The four-floor extension to the existing building will contain a double-height studio theatre and double-height television studio, each with its own control room. There will also be six areas that can be used as both teaching rooms and drama studios, plus three music practice rooms and two offices.

A new side entrance, foyer and lift will be shared by both theatregoers and University staff and students. The theatre’s existing entrance will continue to be used as well.

Rob Lipcar, senior project manager at the University, said: “We look forward to the delivery of these splendid facilities, for both the New Theatre Royal and the University, next year.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Craven joined the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Frank Jonas, MP Penny Mordaunt and Gioia Minghella from the Minghella family, along with the theatre’s director, Caroline Sharman, at the Make Your Mark event at the theatre in February. The notable guests threw debris from the dilapidated dressing rooms into a skip outside the theatre to signal the start of the building project. Professor Craven, Cllr Frank Jonas and Caroline Sharman then addressed the audience from the stage inside the theatre.

After the speeches, there was a showcase of performers that have made their mark on the theatre over the years, including students from the University.

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