The Octagon Theatre has closed its doors for the last time ahead of its £29.01m transformation that will see it become a flagship centre for the creative arts in Somerset – but don’t worry, it’s business as usual at Westlands Entertainment Venue where you can catch the best of live entertainment whilst The Octagon undergoes its transformation.
On Saturday 29th April, SHiNE was performed to an audience that were wowed by the creativity and talent on stage from the Octagon Academy and the local community connected to the theatre before closing its doors for the final time. SHiNE is The Octagon’s annual showcase of talent from the theatre’s Academy and other groups that are associated with the theatre.
Photo above: SHiNE performance at The Octagon Theatre. Photo courtest of Len Copland.
With the planning application now approved by the Local Planning Authority for the exciting redevelopment of The Octagon Theatre, the venue is set to undergo a £29.01m transformation that will see the current building turned into a centre of excellence that will spark economic regeneration for the area and offer so many opportunities for residents to improve their wellbeing. The venue will mean less trips out of the county to access brilliant shows and entertainment with superb events right on your doorstep here in Somerset.
The redeveloped Octagon Theatre will include:
Photo above: Artists' impression of the redeveloped Ocagon Theatre
Whilst the development project is being paid for by Somerset Council, £10m of the cost is being funded through a grant via the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – leaving £19.01m of additional funding to be sought. This funding will be generated through loaning the money from the council itself. This means income made from the venue will be paid back, at no additional cost to the taxpayer. Other funding streams will be through fundraising events, whilst other options explored from trusts and foundations that will bring national funding to support the project.
While The Octagon Theatre undergoes its transformation, the show must go on… and it carries on here at Westlands Entertainment Venue.
‘Westlands’ as it’s more affectionately known by locals in Yeovil has been managed by Somerset Council since 2017 following its proposed closure which resulted in a petition of more than 10,000 people. Somerset Council agreed to manage the venue on behalf of Leonardo’s who own the building, leasing it for many years. Following a large investment into the building, Westlands reopened and hosts many events each year, including the popular Screenings in the Ballroom.
Image above: Westlands Cafe Bar area.
All of the familiar shows that were at The Octagon Theatre will be hosted at Westlands while the theatre undergoes its transformation, including the popular Christmas pantomime by Evolution Productions. This year, Westlands plays host to Cinderella!
See popular shows that would normally be staged at The Octagon here at Westlands such as That’ll Be The Day, Rhythm of the Dance, UK Pink Floyd Experience, Fascinating Aida and A Country Night at Nashville. Visit the Westlands website to see all the shows currently on sale at the venue.
Our regular community groups that often frequent the stage at The Octagon Theatre will also be treading the boards at Westlands Entertainment Venue, including YAOS, Project Dance, YAPS, Motiv8, Castaway Theatre Group, Razzmataz, Helen Laxton School of Dance, Dance Centre, Project Play and Kerri Hill Dance.
Westlands also has a Café Bar open daily, serving hot and cold food between the hours of 10am and 2pm (Mon – Sat only). Westlands is also the perfect venue for meetings, conference and other events.
What’s coming up at Westlands…
Following feedback from customers, during the Coronavirus pandemic steps were made to make changes to the seating at Westlands which has enabled more leg room in the tiered seating, making the tiered area very popular with customers who use the venue.
Come on down to Westlands and let us entertain you.