Camberley theatre can stay open over summer despite safety fears

The show can go on a bit longer at Camberley Theatre after experts ruled it was safe to remain open while prep work into its crumbly concrete was carried out. Dangerous Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) was found inside parts of the theatre last year after Surrey Heath Borough Council ordered safety checks across its buildings.

To fix the problem the theatre will have to close from August to November this year but there were fears it could have been much worse and additional checks were ordered. Surveyors have since said the site can be prepared while open to the public and - in a major boost for the town - the full summer season can go ahead.

RAAC was a widely used material in local authority buildings due to its low cost but can crumble and collapse without warning. Once completed Camberley Theatre will be able to regain its place among the “vibrant culture and arts programme within Surrey Heath” - for the medium term, the council said.

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The work has already been singed off by the council and is expected to cost £175,000. Surrey Heath portfolio holder for leisure and culture, Councillor John Skipper said: "We appreciate the importance of Camberley Theatre as an arts and cultural venue in our borough, and the financial contribution it makes to the local economy.

"The safety of customers and staff remains the council’s top priority, and specialist surveyors have confirmed it is safe for the theatre to stay open while we prepare for the planned future works to deal with the RAAC. There's a great programme of shows at the theatre over the next few months so please head to the theatre website for more details.”

The Ian Goodchild Centre, which is immediately adjacent to the theatre, is expected to l remain open throughout any approved remedial works later this year. All existing hires and performances impacted by the proposed closures are being rescheduled for dates when the theatre is expected to reopen and those with tickets within the closure can either move their booking or get a refund.