Hopes pre-built extension plans will attract bigger acts to the Regent

Regent theatre

The new extension would be built at the back of the existing Regent Theatre in Ipswich. - Credit: Google maps

Council chiefs want to install a pre-built extension at Ipswich's Regent Theatre in a bid to attract more shows.

Bosses at the council-owned theatre want to install new dressing rooms and facilities for performers behind the main building, next to the manager's office.

They plan to bring in a ready-made unit containing three dressing rooms with toilets and showers, an open area and a small kitchen for performers.

The new unit would improve facilities for performers – and would make it easier to bring shows to the town.

However, because the 1929-built theatre is Grade II listed special permission is needed. The whole building is included in the listing, including the "Manager's Cottage" – now offices – which faces onto Woodbridge Road.

The application has been made on behalf of the council by KLH Architects. Bosses there say they have talked to the borough's conservation officer and are confident the proposed modular buildings would not damage the historic setting of the theatre.

In the past there has been a long-term ambition to redevelop the stage and provide much better facilities for performers and allow more extravagant productions – it was originally built as a cinema with a limited stage.

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This would cost millions of pounds, and over the last decade more touring productions able to use the theatre's limited facilities – but they do need better backstage facilities.

The grey modular buildings would be installed on the hard standing inside the fence at the theatre – and would have new signs indicating the entrance.

Regent entrance

The grey modular extension would include signage and would hide an ugly rear wall to the existing offices. - Credit: KLH Architects/IBC

They would not be as tall as the existing offices – and would hide an unattractive rear wall that is currently something of an eyesore.

Because it represents an alteration to a listed building the application is likely to have to go to a meeting of the borough's planning and development committee later this year.