THE Market Theatre is to undergo a £40,000 enhancement by the early summer, with the creation of a dedicated rehearsal space for the Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society and other groups.

Grants are flooding in to the project, including £5000 from the Theatres Trust, which was announced this week.

Other recent awards include £5000 from the Rowlands Trust and £500 from the Baron Davenport's Charity; and the theatre hopes that further grant awards from other bodies can be announced in the near future.

The theatre's artistic director, Paul Graham hopes that work will start quickly and be completed "by the end of June".

Mr Graham said of the planned new rehearsal space: "It creates an enormous amount of flexibility in the running of the theatre."

He said that at the moment, the highly active Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society, which annually stages several well-supported productions, including the popular town pantomime, was having to "hire halls all over the town" for its many rehearsals.

This is because the Market Theatre isn't only used by LADS but is a venue for professional productions, live screenings and cinema.

Mr Graham said: "Currently, there just isn't the room in the theatre for everything that's going on there."

The studio space, which will also be available for other groups to hire, will allow LADS members to return home for their rehearsals, without having to pay out hiring costs for other halls.

Mr Graham said that the studio space, which will be located in the space currently used for costume storage on the first floor, would be around the size of the main stage.

A mezzanine floor will be created above the new rehearsal studio, and the costumes will be stored there instead.

The Market Theatre is one of just six theatres in the land to get a grant in the latest round from the UK Theatres Small Grants scheme, "to assist with building work about to be undertaken at the theatre".

Launched in April 2012, the Theatres Trust receives support from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and Judy Craymer MBE.

A spokesman for the Trust said: "The Market Theatre, Ledbury receives a grant of £5,000 towards a new, purpose-built, multi-purpose studio, which will be used for rehearsal space and as an additional dressing room space - where currently it has neither.

"Built in 2000, it is a volunteer-run community theatre that programmes live, touring, professional and amateur drama, music, dance and film for Ledbury, its rural catchment, as well as visitors to the town, with 9,000 paid attendances in 2015."

Mr Graham said he was "delighted" by news of the award.