A STUDIO inside a Southend theatre will close for an extended period as major repair work takes place after the discovery of potentially crumbling concrete.

The Dixon Studio, inside the 112-year-old Palace Theatre in Westcliff, closed for temporary repairs last September but now it has been revealed it will close during 2025 for an extended period.

The temporary repairs included placing four large pylons inside the studio to support the roof.

Amateur dramatic society, the East Essex Players, regularly uses the small and intimate studio for its productions and has been left devastated by the news.

Details in Southend Council’s budget have revealed further works are needed which will close the studio, but Tory council leader Tony Cox said they would be unable to confirm exactly when the work takes place until the next financial year begins.

Hazel Latcham, leader of the East Essex Players, claims she was told the studio would close from January 2025.

She said: “It will be open until Christmas and then it will close from January until they have finished works to put a proper roof on it.

“We do three shows a year, we could only do two last year due to the Raac and this year we will be doing three, but it will be very difficult with the construction beams.

“Other places just don’t have the same facilities as the Dixon Studio, we will have to take what we can get when it is closed.

“We were the first amateur dramatic society to put a box set and red curtains in the Dixon, we spent £7,000 on curtains and with the current girders hanging them will be problematic.

“We have been putting on plays for more than 60 years though, we won’t let pylons stop us and we will put something on in our hall when the Dixon is closed.”

Mr Cox, council leader confirmed it is unknown how long the theatre will close for.

He said: “I don’t know how long it will be closed as it is in the next financial year.

“It was reopened to allow the Christmas shows, but is to be closed again for longer lasting repairs.”

Ms Latcham said that their next show, heavily adapted to fit around the emergency repairs, will run from March 20 to March 23.