Octagon in Yeovil to get £10m

There was one surprise detail in the budget papers issued today to support the Chancellor’s speech. The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil is to get £10m in government funding. This will go towards the renovation and modernisation of the theatre. In the February edition of The Leveller we reported on plans by South Somerset District Council (SSDC) for the Octagon. The total costs were estimated at £23m.

In its own analysis of where funding would come from, £5m was expected from the Arts Council. It is not clear at this point if the £10m from Mr Sunak will replace that or be in addition to it. But either way, that is at least £5m towards the gap between likely costs and likely funding that won’t have to be found.

The money is to support a new “fly tower” and a new circle to increase capacity to 900 seats. Other works will make the theatre fully accessible and add two purpose built studios.

Local MP Marcus Fysh was delighted by the news. “It is great to see this support for Yeovil….. We all need to rediscover our sociable and cultural sides and I can’t wait to get back to places like this. The renovation and expansion of the theatre will be a big boost in helping us enhance Yeovil. Both as a great place to live and visit and have a knock on effect for restaurants and other businesses.”

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