Seating boost set for Scarborough’s landmark Open Air Theatre

Leeds Theatre Company take a break in the sunshine after entertaining at Scarborough's Open Air Theatre. PIC: Richard Ponter
Leeds Theatre Company take a break in the sunshine after entertaining at Scarborough's Open Air Theatre. PIC: Richard Ponter
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Thousands of seats are set to be added to Scarborough’s landmark Open Air Theatre in an effort to attract further big-name acts and boost revenue.

Councillors have been recommended to back plans to permanently drain and fill in part of the lake to create a fixed area in front of the stage, which will boost the theatre’s capacity from 6,000 to more than 8,000.

The proposals follow the venue’s most successful season yet, with more than 74,000 people heading to the theatre this year - 25,000 more than last summer - and sales breaking all records.

In December, California-based tour promoter Live Nation took over venue operator Cuffe and Taylor, and the council has now agreed a 10-year deal with the global firm, which is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world.

The number of concerts will also increase, with up to 20 lined up for 2018.

Under the plans, the lake will be filled in at a time when the water is not full of the protected great crested newts.

The section of Northstead Manor Lake behind the stage will be made into a habitat for the creatures.

In a report that will go before Scarborough Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday, David Walker, senior planning officer, said: “The creation of an additional seating area will enhance the theatre as a concert venue and safeguard and reinforce the role of the North Bay as a tourist attraction sustaining the long-term tourism economy.”

A temporary deck was previously installed for a concert by Elton John in June 2011, which attracted a sell-out audience of 8,500.