Hexagon to be replaced

Reading Council starts talks on new theatre

Councillors in Reading have decided to replace the town’s Hexagon arts centre is with a new £25 million theatre.

Reading Borough Council said that, despite good audiences, “fundamental limitations” in the building’s design and condition are becoming too costly

Instead, the council has backed plans by a local community group for a new 750 to 1,200-seat venue able to host bigger touring shows, with two multi-use rehearsal spaces, cafe and bar.

The council will begin discussions with interested parties following a formal procurement exercise. But the council’s head of economic and cultural development Grant Thornton said the project to replace the 70s theatre was a “medium to long-term aspiration”.  Replacing the theatre would take “several years”, he added, saying that the borough's contribution to the project would be land and planning expertise.

The proposals for a new theatre have been put forward by Theatre and Arts Reading Community Interest Company (TAR) chaired by Melvin Benn, who runs Reading Festival.

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