MILLIONS of pounds are set to be spent revamping Basildon’s Towngate Theatre as part of “urgent works”.

The theatre in St Martin’s Square has been the scene for popular musicals, concerts, variety acts and pantos since opening in 1987.

But council papers reveal the “whole electrical system needs replacing” at the site.

The papers show the existing system is “reaching the end of its life”.

The report said: “The theatre itself is 36 years old and has been used intensively in that time with no major core infrastructure investment which shows how well the building was constructed and maintained during that period.

“The electrical infrastructure is now beyond its useful life and is in danger of becoming a possible liability to the safe operation of the theatre.”


The proposal is estimated to cost up to £3.4million and will need to take place over two years.

It will be funded from the corporate repairs and maintenance budget and asset management reserve.

The council will use the summer “dark period” between July and September where shows are not held for the work to take place.

Echo: A production of the Adventures of Peter Pan in December at the TowngateA production of the Adventures of Peter Pan in December at the Towngate (Image: Carmel Jane Photography)

Works include replacing the lighting to the main auditoria and the Mirren Studio to incorporate a new theatre specification lighting installation, enhanced front of house LED lighting and colour change, a new emergency lighting system utilising central battery units and a new theatre production power system.

The report added: “The replacement of all lighting fixtures and moving all theatre lighting to LED will significantly reduce the electricity consumption for the building as well as more modern air handling units that operate far more efficiently than the current units.”

Andrew Baggott, leader of Basildon Council, said: "The Towngate Theatre is very well supported and well used by many in Basildon.

"An investment in making sure the theatre can serve for many more years to come will be worth it.

"We will be looking at supply chain issues so we can make sure we can keep disruption to a minimum."

The theatre has seen previous investment in seat replacement and a redesign and refurbishment of the foyers and cafe, which has “significantly improved the customer experience and has led to significant growth in income and attendance to the theatre”.

The period 2022/23 was a “record year” and next year’s programme is selling above expectations and advance sales for the pantomime shows are ahead of last year’s sales.

Basildon Council’s cabinet will discuss the plans next week.