AN ARTIST’S impressions show a third option for Chester’s new theatre – at the back of the main library.
Former lord mayor James Latham, a retired architect, this week lodged an official submission with Cheshire West and Chester Council on behalf of Chester in Concert.
Mr Latham says council chief executive Steve Robinson has promised to consider the alternative £25m vision alongside the existing proposals to convert the Odeon or create a brand new theatre on the Little Roodee car park.
Mr Latham believes modifying the former Odeon cinema would be a poor compromise and feels the Little Roodee option would be stuck out on a limb.
His vision would see the theatre attached to the rear of the library with theatre-goers invited in along a corridor from the existing library entrance fronting Market Square and other entrances off Hunter Street and Princess Street, with all three meeting in a central foyer incorporating a cafe.
A ground floor extension to the rear of the library would have a 200-seater small theatre above, accessed from the foyer, with the main 800-seat auditorium beyond, in what is currently the bus station area.
In addition to drama, Chester in Concert envisages a building which would be used for opera and musicals and open to professional and amateurs alike.
The footprint would be twice that of the Odeon with plenty of space for dressing rooms and other facilities for visiting companies. Above all it is the location which appeals to supporters.
Mr Latham said: “The intention is to create a group of principal performance spaces in the city centre comprising the cathedral, the town hall and Odeon cinema and the new theatre, linked to the library.”