Michael Portillo ceremony signals new era at Lowther Pavilion

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Lowther Pavilion is on track for an exciting new era.

 

In the Lytham theatre’s centenary year, the start of work on its planned studio, education and training centre has been signalled at a ceremony featuring TV rail journeys presenter and former politician Michael Portillo.

The laying of the foundations for the new 150-seat space is expected to take 12 weeks, with an eight-month building programme to follow.

The £1.5m studio is intended to be a community hub and a safe space for Lowther’s Youth Theatre and Young Creatives programme, with the facilities set to appeal across the North West region.

Michael Portillo performs the turf-cutting ceremony, watched by Lowther trustees Teresa Mallabone and Rosie Withers and chief executive and artistic director Tim Lince

Michael Portillo performs the turf-cutting ceremony, watched by Lowther trustees Teresa Mallabone and Rosie Withers and chief executive and artistic director Tim Lince

Stage is set for new era at Lowther Pavilion

It’s envisaged as the first step towards a total new look for Fylde’s only theatre, which was first mooted five years ago – with two future phases planned to include a new foyer, rooftop restaurant, cafe and exterior along with offices, community rooms and full disability access.

Fund-raising, via grant applications and the Love Lowther appeal, continues for the remainder of the anticipated total cost of £6.7m.

Lowther chief executive and artistic director Tim Lince said: “It’s a very big moment to officially mark the start of our exciting development plans, which will ensure the Lowther Pavilion remains at the heart of the community for future generations.

An artist's impression of the planned new development

An artist’s impression of the planned new development

“These are exciting times for Lowther and it’s wonderful to see work start on the studio, education and training centre.

“This marks a vital stage in our ambitious plans as it not only cements planning permission for our redevelopment campaign, but also continues to further our commitment to our community work by creating a space for it.”

“We are expecting the work on the studio to take around eight months to complete, with a window to continue raising funds for the remaining two phases.”

Michael Portillo, at Lowther for two sellout performances of his one-man show, placed a spade in the soil on the site to the rear of the current dressing rooms to ceremonially signal the start of work and said: “I’m delighted to be involved in this start of an exciting new era for Lowther Pavilion.

“Local theatres are vital to any community and even more so it is important to encourage and develop the performers of the future, especially after the tough times of the last couple of years.

“I always enjoying visiting Lowther Pavilion and Lytham and I wish everyone here the very best for the future.”