MAJOR works to renovate, repair and refurbish Halstead's Empire Theatre have taken a huge step forward.

The theatre has been undergoing significant improvements past few weeks.

Halstead town council previously hoped to secure funding for the work to the roof of the theatre via a National Lottery grant to help with the work, but the joint bid was unsuccessful.

The council also previously revealed costs have risen “significantly” since the Lottery application was made.

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The work on the roof came with a £54,000 price tag, but the theatre requires more work to be done, including the deep cleaning of the seats, shampooing of the carpets, repainting the entire auditorium and a repaint of the front steps.

Scaffolding around the building has now been removed after the completion of the roof replacement project.

A theatre spokesman said: "We are quite pleased with the outcome, and we would like to thank Halstead Town Council for their continued support and their commitment to the theatre in funding the works."

The theatre has also installed a new heat pump system, which allows for efficient heating and cooling during events, replacing the old radiator and fan system which was expensive to run and difficult to control.

The cost was met by the theatre from its own resources.

Despite undergoing renovations, the theatre has continued to offer a wide programme of entertainment, including films, live theatre performances, comedy acts, music concerts and streamed events.

The Empire Theatre plans to release a new program soon, featuring exciting shows like The Nutcracker during the Christmas season.

The spokesman said: "Recently we have had some fantastic streaming events with The Sleeping Beauty ballet from the Royal Opera House and the amazing stage production from the National Theatre of Life of Pi.

"Our goal is to host more events, such as these, and create an enjoyable space for residents to sit down and relax.

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"We also produce regular leaflets with full programmes for two months at a time, for those without internet access, but we cannot always get these to everyone, which is why we are looking for helpers to deliver leaflets.

"We also offer a ticket helpline on 07778 025490."

The theatre has also welcomed groups, including the Photographic Society and Halstead Bridge Club, as regular users of their facilities.

For more information, or to volunteer as a leaflet helper, visit