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Budget windfall will boost Belgrade's upgrade

Thanks to this week's budget, Coventry is to receive an extra £8.5 million towards projects linked to its City of Culture status in 2021.

What this money will mean to most local other local arts groups is not yet known, but exciting times lie ahead.

At the Belgrade Theatre, a significant sum will go towards upgrading the auditorium which dates back to 1958, when the Belgrade became the UK's first civic theatre to open after the Second World War.

The precise size of the theatre's share has not yet been confirmed. However, executive director Joanna Reid feels confident enough to describe it as a major fundraising milestone as they continue to work towards their existing £4.6 million capital development project.

She said: "This is a fantastic injection of much-needed cash to the city to boost our cultural infrastructure and (for us) it's brilliant to receive it now - so that we can get on and undertake the works and be completely ready for 2021."

The main stage refurbishment and seating is due to start in the summer of next year. Catering facilities will also be improved.

In addition, the theatre is due to launch its own public fundraising campaign next March.

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