The King Street venue will become the country’s first teaching theatre.
The £16.5 million redevelopment of Hammersmith’s Lyric Theatre began this week.
The King Street venue will become the country’s first teaching theatre, with its two-storey extension providing educational rooms for sessions for students with actors and directors.
The transformation aims to involve more young people with the arts and will include dance, drama and recording studios, new wardrobe and scenic props and a TV and film studio.
Lyric Hammersmith Executive Director, Jessica Hepburn, said: “This is a unique project and the largest cultural development of its kind to take place in West London for decades.
“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed their vision and support to the project and we’re delighted to be putting culture and young people at the heart of the regeneration of Hammersmith and Fulham.”
Hammersmith & Fulham Council have contributed more than £3 million towards the project.
Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council Leader, said: “The Lyric is already far more than a theatre and this major regeneration project will not only help to inspire generations of young people but also secure this wonderful institution’s place at the heart of the borough’s cultural community for years to come.”
He added: “The new look Lyric will be a new type of cultural establishment. We have teaching hospitals for medicine and the Lyric is going to be the UK’s first teaching theatre for the arts.”
The project is also being funded by Arts Council England, Department of Educations and Mayor of London, as well as a fundraising appeal by the theatre.
Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, London of Arts Council England, said the council was proud to invest in the ambition the theatre has for ground-breaking work.
She added: “The Lyric is an important civic and cultural hub that has touched the lives of so many people in Hammersmith and beyond. It is on the cusp of change with this new development, which will take its work with young people to a whole new level.”
Around 7,000 pupils a year are expected to use the new facilities, which will also include a sensory room for disabled children, music practice rooms and meeting and seminar rooms.
A new café and bar will be installed in the existing building.
The development hopes to help reinforce the theatre’s growing reputation as one of the capital’s most sustainable cultural buildings.
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