A revised plan for a multi-million-pound project to bring a historic city theatre back to life is set to be discussed.

Worcester City Council has been forced to redesign its landmark plans for the Scala Theatre after seeing its budget balloon in the last year and is now looking to turn the space into a new arts centre.

The modified work would create a more flexible space at the grade II listed former theatre in Angel Place to host music, drama, film screenings and comedy.

In the summer, the city council revealed it was scrapping plans to build a new landmark 500-seat Scala Theatre in favour of a much smaller venue after seeing the gap in its budget rocket to £3.5 million in less than six months.

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The redesign is expected to cost at least £250,000 according to a report due to be discussed by the council’s policy and resources committee on Monday, October 16.

The council said it would not be signing off on the redesign until there was a “clear consensus” that a flexible and multi-use space was supported by the city’s arts communities.

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An independent survey carried out on behalf of the council spoke with 100 organisations with 86 per cent saying they would like to see the Scala turned into an arts centre.

A new planning application would then have to be submitted and approved before work could start.

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Time is running out with the council saying a contract must be signed with its preferred construction firm before the end of the year to meet agreements with the government when the millions from the Future High Street Fund were awarded nearly three years ago. 

The project, which was being funded by nearly £18 million in government Future High Street Fund money, has been drastically reduced ever since it was awarded in 2020 which left the city council battling to even carry out the cornerstone Scala work.

The council blamed inflation and rising construction costs for the spiralling budget.

Plans for a flexible stage which could be reconfigured for every performance, taller rooms, and balconies were all ditched in a bid to cut down costs.