A popular Dartford theatre is set to receive a facelift as part of a £500,000 refurbishment plan announced this morning.

Plans to revamp the Orchard Theatre will see their doors close for a period of six weeks over the summer as works are set to commence.

Loyal patrons will be excited to hear that the entire auditorium will be stripped back and extended to increase capacity to 1025, an increase of 69 from the current capacity of 956.

Extra spaces for disabled customers with access requirements are also set to be delivered along with new motorised seating, enabling the theatre to transition easily between seated and flat floor events.

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Artist's impression of revamped Orchard Theatre

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Production quality is also set to be significantly improve with adjustments being made to lighting and sound devices within the theatre.

The interior design is to be updated with new carpets and decorations as part of the refurbishment plan, which is being funded by a grant from Dartford Council.

Director for the Orchard Theatre, Lorna Strawson said: "“We can’t wait to see the finished results and to unveil the wide-ranging improvements to our customers and to visiting producers.

"We know how much our audiences value the theatre. Over the past 12 months we welcomed around a quarter of a million people to a show at The Orchard – with many thousands more engaging with us through our Community and Creative Learning programme.

"The impact of those visits on the local economy is significant – through associated spending on transport, parking, and visits to local bars, restaurants and shops.

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"These improvements will make sure we’re well-placed to continue to offer the widest range of professional shows, community events and creative learning work to our customers for many years to come – and in an environment that is both accessible and excellent in every way."

Council Leader, Cllr Jeremy Kite said: "Investing in the theatre is part of our strategy to support quality services, quality facilities and celebrate a venue in the town that can bring our community together.

"With so many councils cutting support for theatres it would have been easy for us to do the same, but it would not have been right. We have an unshakeable belief in the value of the arts as part of a strong society."