Lyceum’s £2m revamp hope

Lyceum Theatre
Lyceum Theatre

The Lyceum Theatre could be in line for a multi-million pound refurbishment.

The venue has reached the final stages of bidding for a grant of £1 million from the Arts Council, which would be put towards improvement work to attract higher calibre shows and bigger audiences .Sheffield Council has pledged £500,000 to the scheme, which costs a total of £2 million, to help the bid which if successful would require Sheffield Theatres to raise the remaining cash from public donations and fundraising.

Between 1988 and 1990 the Edwardian theatre, which had been derelict for 20 years, underwent a £12m restoration when the stage was rebuilt, the main entrance was moved, dressing rooms were improved and the auditorium restored.

Now 25 years later improvements to the stage, equipment and building are being sought. Sheffield Theatres are hoping to hear by Christmas if their bid has been successful and work would take place next summer after fund-raising efforts had begun in the New Year.

Already, under the terms of the Arts Council application, tickets for shows contain a message that a proportion of the cost will go to the refurbishment project.

Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “Sheffield Council has had to cut its revenue funding to the theatres over the past few years, and this investment helps the organisation to replace this lost income.

“The arts industries play a vital role in Sheffield’s economy and a project like this, with a clearly defined purpose and benefits, is a sound investment.”

Dan Bates, chief executive of Sheffield Theatres, said: “I am so pleased that Sheffield Council is in a position to consider supporting the refurbishment of the Lyceum as a key component of the cultural infrastructure of the city.”

Theatre dates back to 1897

The Lyceum Theatre

Built in 1897 following a traditional proscenium arch design, the Lyceum is the only surviving theatre outside of London designed by the famous theatre architect W G R Sprague, and the last example of an Edwardian auditorium in Sheffield. It was built on the site of the former City Theatre with a grand auditorium built on three levels; stalls, circle and balcony.