A STUDIO at Westcliff’s Palace Theatre will reopen in weeks after being forced to close due to the risk of crumbling concrete.

The venue, which is inside the theatre, was closed off after the discovery of potential reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete on September 7 – as the Raac crisis swept the nation closing schools and other buildings.

The roof of the Dixon Studio, which was part of an extension of the Grade Two listed Palace Theatre, on London Road, was constructed in the 1980s using Raac.

It has now been revealed the studio will be re-opening on November 22 with Southend Drama Society staging The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The show will kick off on the opening date and run until November 25.

Nick Parr, theatre director of Southend Theatres, said: “The Dixon Studio provides an essential space locally for amateur dramatic and community groups to rehearse and perform.

“We cannot wait to welcome our local community groups and professional performers back to the Dixon Studio.”

Raac was used in projects between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s, and it has been the subject of huge national scrutiny, with schools being forced to shut – including more than 50 in Essex.

Interim safety measures have been put in place and work will now begin to find a long-term solution and replace the roof and remove Raac completely.

Derek Jarvis, councillor responsible for arts, culture, heritage and leisure, said: “This is fantastic news for the local community groups who use the Dixon Studio and the audiences who enjoy the shows, and I want to thank those who have been affected for their patience and understanding.”

The Dixon Studio is a 100-seat studio located on the first floor of the Palace Theatre.

It is frequently used for a variety of small-scale productions, including stand-up comedians, movies, and performances targeting children.

John Lamb,councillor responsible for regulatory services, said: “I think most will agree that we have worked quickly and effectively to take the necessary steps to put interim measures in place and ensure the safety of those who will be using the Dixon.

“Although the risk of the Raac failing was always incredibly low, we did not want to take the risk of keeping it open until we put extra measures in place.”