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News Archive - February/March 2015
Alexandra Palace restoration plan approved
A £28m project to restore some of Alexandra Palace’s most significant historic spaces has been approved by Haringey Council.
The council agreed to proposals to restore the historic Victorian theatre as a cultural venue, and to transform the former BBC studios into a visitor attraction and learning space telling the story of television.
The consent paves the way for the project to go ahead, subject to approval of a major grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund in March. If successful, some areas of the listed landmark will be made accessible to the public for the first time in recent history.
Under the plans, the Palace’s stunning hidden theatre dating back to 1875 will be brought back to life for community and commercial use, with rehearsal space, performances, cinema screenings, live comedy and acoustic music among the ideas backed by leading arts figures. The theatre will accommodate audiences of up to 1,300, but has been designed to suit smaller and more intimate performances too.
The BBC studios, birthplace of high-definition television broadcasts in 1936, would be turned into an interactive visitor attraction telling the story of the birth of broadcast television, drawing on the BBC’s rich archives. There will be a special focus on schools and educational programmes, displays of historic equipment and hands-on engagement with the art of making television programmes.
The plans won support from many local residents, as well as backing from restoration experts including English Heritage, the Theatres Trust and the Victorian Society.
The plans will also see the bricked-up colonnades along the Palace’s south terrace opened up to restore them to their nineteenth century appearance and improve links to Alexandra Park.
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