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  • Planning-Permission-Granted-For-Exciting-Project-To-Create-A-Flagship-Cultural-Hub-For-Somerset

Planning permission granted for exciting project to create a flagship cultural hub for Somerset

posted 14 Feb 2023
Planning permission granted for exciting project to create a flagship cultural hub for Somerset

Councillors of South Somerset District Council have voted to approve planning permission for the redevelopment of The Octagon Theatre which will see the venue transformed into a flagship centre for the creative arts.

The redeveloped theatre will provide amazing opportunities for all Somerset residents and bring world class artists to the county as well as spark economic regeneration for the area and be a source of joy, entertainment and inspiration for generations to come.

South Somerset District Council’s Area South Committee and Regulation Committee voted to approve the Planning Officers recommendation which was to approve the planning application.

The redeveloped Octagon Theatre will include:

  • An increased seating capacity in the main auditorium from 622 to 900.
  • Two new smaller cinema/studio spaces predominately for film screenings.
  • A dance studio which will become the new home for our popular Octagon Academy.
  • A community studio offering an alternative space for additional classes.
  • A greatly improved café bar area open throughout the day.
  • Improved front of house and customer facilities.
  • Improved backstage accessibility.
  • The construction of a fly tower, enabling larger visiting companies to use the venue which would bring a new range of shows.
  • A Changing Places Toilet for those with additional needs.

The development of The Octagon will mean fewer trips out of the county to access brilliant shows, activities and entertainment with superb events right on your doorstep and unleashing creativity across Somerset and beyond.

Adam Burgan, Arts & Entertainment Venues Manager, said: “This is really exciting for us all involved at The Octagon Theatre and the arts in Somerset on a day-to-day basis as we see planning permission granted for a venue that will not only benefit the local community but also bring the opportunity for all to access the world-class arts here in Somerset. The tendering process for contractors to bid for the works in a competitive process is underway and we are set to close the doors on The Octagon Theatre as we currently know it at the end of April, making way for the new home of entertainment here in Somerset.”

Councillor Mike Best, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing at South Somerset District Council, said: “The redevelopment will better enable the arts to reach out into the community, with Arts Council England seeing the redevelopment of The Octagon as a symbol for the renewed commitment to the arts by local government in Somerset. As the new Unitary Council is established, and in line with the anticipated delivery of a new Cultural Strategy for Somerset, there will be opportunities to develop a more considered culture offer across Somerset.”

The Octagon Theatre is currently planned to close its doors to customers at the end of April with building works then set to commence in the coming months. For more information on the redevelopment, please visit our website at octagon-theatre.co.uk.

You can also view the Officer Report on the planning application for the ‘Partial demolition, renovation and extension of Octagon Theatre, Yeovil. Expansion of main auditorium from 622 to 900 seats, construction of 2no. new cinemas, dance studio and expanded foyers. Construction of new theatrical fly-tower and expanded backstage provisiononline on the South Somerset District Council website.