From the front of the historic theatre building, visitors should be able to see all the way out to King Street.

And, for the first time in 248 years, people walking along the street will be able to peek through the long, panelled windows to admire the famous venue staring back at them.

The designs were released last night, as BOV announced its “exciting” spring and summer programme of productions and collaborations.

In the second phase of its long-term renovation and redevelopment, the larger, environmentally friendly foyer would be created.

Excited artistic director Tom Morris said: “At this thrilling point, when we have just received planning permission for the next phase of the redevelopment of this, the most beautiful theatre in Britain, we are taking another huge step towards our aim to connect the theatre with the whole city of Bristol.

“After this refurbishment, everyone in Bristol will be able to see our beautiful and unique theatre from the street for the first time since 1766 – and we want everyone in the city to be able know a bit about its extraordinary history and pioneering programme.”

He said the granting of planning permission last month was a “massive, massive moment” for the theatre and described the foyer designs by Haworth Tompkins as “simple but beautiful.”

If another £6.5 million is raised to make the plans a reality, the 1970s studio theatre would be knocked down to create a new entrance, while the current foyer through Cooper’s Hall would return to its original use as a banqueting hall. Supporters hope it would all be finished in time for the theatre’s 250th birthday, in two years’ time.

Half the money needed is now in place, including a £500,000 grant from the city council and £5 million from the Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded capital programme.

As the fundraising effort continues, patrons, partners and supporters of BOV are still being sought. There will also be a gala night of performances, an auction, champagne and canapes on April 26. Tickets range from £75 to £250 and will help contribute to the capital sum needed to complete the theatre’s transformation. Call 0117 987 7877 for tickets.

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