Theatre puts historic empty cinema back in the spotlight
A HISTORIC former cinema which has stood vacant for years has been reincarnated as a theatre rehearsal space.
The old Metro cinema, in Green Lane, closed in 2008 following the opening of Quad in the Market Place.
Since then, its future has been in doubt – but now owner University of Derby has announced that the building has been restored and adapted to be used for rehearsals by Derby Theatre.
The property now includes a working wardrobe department, props store and a number of rehearsal spaces, which will predominantly be available to the theatre.
However, at a later date it will also be available for use by associate theatre companies and artists as well.
Gary Johnson, manager of Derby Theatre, said: "We are extremely excited to have acquired the Green Lane building for theatre-related purposes, which will provide us with a secondary base and will be an extension to the work we do.
"We know how popular and affectionately thought of the building was, and still is, in the city, so we are delighted that we have been given guardianship and the chance to be able to bring it back to life for cultural purposes.
"The development work is ongoing and we look forward to providing updates to the work and restoration in the future."
Professor John Coyne, vice-chancellor of the University of Derby, said he was pleased to see a new use for the building. He said: "The university has been delighted to bring part of our grade-two listed Green Lane building back into service as dedicated rehearsal space for new productions at Derby Theatre. It has created first class studios which will be the envy of the national theatre community."
The building, originally built as the Derby School of Art in 1876, became redundant in 2007 when a new £20 million art and design centre was opened by the university in Markeaton Street.
It housed the Metro cinema for 26 years, until Quad opened in 2008.
The late Victorian gothic-style building was designed by FW Waller, of Waller and Son, Gloucester, and was listed in 1977. It measures 4,000 square metres over three storeys and includes an attic. Additional features were added in 1899.
The cast of Derby's latest production, Charlotte's Web, were the first to use the new space after rehearsing for two weeks in London.
Charlotte's Web runs at Derby Theatre from December 7 to 12. To book tickets, call 01332 593939.