Derby landmarks set for extensive £24million refurbishment including new café and courtyard

The Guildhall Theatre Derby has been closed for over five years following a ceiling collapse in 2019The Guildhall Theatre Derby has been closed for over five years following a ceiling collapse in 2019
The Guildhall Theatre Derby has been closed for over five years following a ceiling collapse in 2019
Plans are in the pipeline to transform the 19th century building in the heart of the city

Two of Derby’s cultural landmarks are set to benefit from a multi-million-pound investment as the council prepares to move forward with major plans this week.

There are plans to restore Derby’s beloved Guildhall Theatre and enhance Derby Theatre as part of a drive to put culture at the heart of the city.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This week Derby City Council’s Cabinet will agree on terms for use of £20million Government Levelling Up Funding allocated to Derby. 

The funding will be split evenly between the Guildhall Theatre and Derby Theatre. 

Combined the two projects are expected to generate an additional £2.7m per year for the local economy.

The £10million allocated to the Guildhall Theatre will contribute to the restoration of the Grade II listed building to its former glory and once again welcome audiences.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Guildhall already needed £10million of repairs to prevent the building falling into disrepair. 

In total the extensive restoration is expected to cost £24.55 million, which will be funded by a combination of the £10 million from the Levelling Up Funding and £14.55 million from the Council’s capital budget.

What will Derby Guildhall plans entail?

Restoration plans for the Guildhall Theatre will include a new front-of-house experience with an enhanced foyer.

There will be a new ground floor café and box office opening onto the Market Place. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The auditorium will also be remodelled to increase seating capacity to around 280.

Back-of-house facilities will also be renovated to make the venue more accessible.

Other improvements include refurbished dressing rooms and the installation of a new service lift. 

A new courtyard will sit adjacent to Derby’s historic Market Hall, which is due to re-open in the spring of 2025 following major renovations.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Councillor Nadine Peatfield, Deputy Leader of Derby City Council and Cabinet Member for City Centre, Regeneration, Culture and Tourism, said: “By bringing the Guildhall Theatre back into use, we can not only restore one of our historic buildings but create more space for community-led arts groups to perform right in Derby’s cultural heart.

“We’re on a mission to put culture at the heart of our city, bringing pride to our high streets, and attracting further investment into the city. Change is coming and what is planned for Derby’s Market Place is truly exciting.”

Derby Theatre £10million upgrade includes brand new studio and learning hub

Derby Theatre’s £10million allocation will enable the Theatre and the University of Derby to complete phase one of its New Horizons project.

This will mean a new state-of-the-art accessible studio theatre and Learning and Research Hub.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Learning and Research Hub will allow the Theatre and University to develop further the undergraduate and postgraduate offer onsite in a professional theatre continuing to make the most of and enhance the unique connection between students, professional artists, participants and audiences.

Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director and CEO, of Derby Theatre, said: “These are exciting times for Derby Theatre as we continue to trailblaze new ways of training the next generation of professionals and creating high-quality theatre for our communities.”

When will work start on Guildhall Derby?

Plans are due to commence in the summer 2025 and be completed in late 2027.

In addition to work on the Guildhall and Derby Theatre, work will also be carried out at 30 and 31 Market Place which adjoin the Guildhall, allowing them to be brought back into use and contribute to the city.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.