A 'hidden gem' will be at the heart of Whitefield's transformation.

Whitefield Garrick Theatre has been designated the heart of a proposed new cultural quarter for the town.

A draft of the Whitefield Town Centre Plan, commissioned by Bury Council, identifies the popular Bank Street building as the centre of an artistic hub.

Whitefield Garrick spokesman, Alfred Howard, said: “The establishment of the Whitefield cultural quarter is poised to elevate the town's cultural landscape, drawing both locals and visitors to its growing array of artistic and entertainment offerings."

The draft Plan sets out the vision of Bury Council and the Whitefield community for how the town can develop and improve.

The plans are designed to create a more vibrant Whitefield capitalising on its strengths including a network of minor streets and back lanes located to the north of the town, with the Garrick Theatre at its centre.

The Little Cultural Quarter creation would be designed to add vibrancy to currently inactive backland streets.

Little Makers Quarter: Create a destination via transformation of the car parking area to the rear of a cluster of independent businesses, adjacent to Victoria Park into a destination (with potential to host a range of events, start-up businesses, temporary uses and a unique food and beverage offer).

Under the proposals, the Garrick Theatre would be at the centre of a proposed “Little Cultural Quarter”. There could also be public art installations and murals depicting the history of the area.

The plan describes the theatre as a “hidden gem” and Whitefield’s only cultural destination.

Already a popular and vibrant cultural landmark, it hosts a variety of art and photography exhibitions, and produces five original plays each year. Additionally, it serves as a venue for an array of visiting productions and performances.

Whitefield Garrick Society has its roots in the Wartime Home Guard Concert Party.

During December 1942 and January 1943 the Home Guard staged a production of Journey's End by R.C. Sherriff, and the society was born.

For many years plays were presented in the All Saints Church Hall until 1975 when the rehearsal room, converted previously from a small machine shop in Bank Street, underwent a further transformation into a tiny theatre.

During the next few years the facilities were improved until in 2002 land was purchased and the present theatre was constructed.

Between 2014 and 2016, a new foyer, bar, kitchen and store were added. Later, improvements were made to the original part of the building, including increasing dressing room space.

Mr Howard said: “Uniquely, it is the sole location in the Bolton and Bury area to feature acts and productions from the Greater Manchester Fringe. This summer, the theatre will showcase two exciting Fringe acts.”

On July 11, comedian Rachel Creeger will take the stage, promising an evening of laughter and entertainment.

Then, from July 18 to 20, the theatre will host the world premiere of the gritty northern drama Life After.

Written and directed by the award-winning Catherine Cropper, this powerful play is anticipated to captivate audiences with its compelling narrative and stellar performances.

Under the plans Bury New Road would be transformed, a new community heart would be established, and the establishment of Little Makers Quarter to attract independent businesses, adjacent to Victoria Park into a destination.

The improvement of the tram stop is a priority too.