THE Met has been awarded more than £3 million to transform the “deteriorating” Victorian theatre.
The funding from Arts Council England, totalling £3,045,400, will allow the theatre to be modernised while retaining its original features.
The project, which is worth £4.5 million in total, includes installing a mezzanine floor in the main theatre, the modernisation of public facilities, as well as improvements to technical and backstage areas.
A campaign to match-fund the grant, which will enable the works to begin, will be launched this year. There is also set to be developments at Edwin Street Recording Studios, to boost work with theatre companies and create working spaces for cultural organisations.
The theatre has received a double boost, after being named as an Arts Council national portfolio organisation which secures funding from the organisation for the next three years.
The grant comes after two years of work by bosses venue for such investment.
David Agnew, director of The Met, said: “This is an important step for the project.
“While not a guarantee, it allows us to continue conversations with other stakeholders about investment in the building to better reflect the quality of work we are presenting.”
The Met is based in Derby Hall, a Victorian neo-classical building which was built in the late 1840s and originally used as a banqueting hall, meeting room, police station and magistrates court.
It was then used as a civic hall by Bury Council until it was taken over by the Bury Metropolitan Arts Association in 1980 and turned into an arts venue.
Theatre bosses say the plans — which have been developed by JMArchitects with Gardeiner and Theobold — are well overdue, with no wholesale revision being made to the venue in many years.
In 2013-14, The Met welcomed more than 38,000 visitors, as well as 7,000 to Ramsbottom Festival.
The funding awards come as the Arts Council announced its funding programme for 2015-18 in arts venues across Greater Manchester, with Islington Mill and The Lowry in Salford as well as Contact Theatre in Manchester also benefiting from capital grants.