A SOMERSET theatre will temporarily close in January during for work on a £30million upgrade.

The Octagon Theatre, in Yeovil, is being expanded and enhanced co it can attract bigger shows and higher-profile acts.

Following concerns from Yeovil Amateur Operatics Society (YAOS), South Somerset District Council confirmed the project will go ahead, with amateur groups relocating to the Westlands entertainment venue during the construction.

YAOS's Bud Budzynski told a full council meeting: "The uncertainty surrounding the work that’s to be done on the Octagon is affecting the capability of the society to plan ahead, certainly in the very near-future, as to what shows they can and cannot put on.

“While the facilities at the Octagon are excellent, as we all know, the ones at the Westlands complex fall far short of some of the requirements of professional shows."

The redevelopment will include a fly tower, allowing shows with wire work, expanding the main auditorium capacity from 622 to 900 and creating two smaller cinema or studio spaces, with a dance studio and community studio.

Of the £29million committed to the project, £10million will come directly from central government grants, with further cash from the district council.

The theatre is aiming to raise £250,000 through fundraising campaigns, with £50,000 expected from 'planning gain' from local housing developments.

The remainder will be loaned by the council and will be repaid over a period of years through a levy on all tickets.

Cllr Mike Best, portfolio holder for health and well-being, said the project would be subject to ongoing review from the full council, but added the current plans were for the theatre to shut its doors in the new year.

He said: “At present, it is still anticipated that the theatre will close in January 2023.

“YAOS has provisionally booked dates at the Westlands entertainment venue through 2023 and 2024, with back-up dates also pencilled in should there be any significant delays in the building programme.

“We have been proactive in providing [for] and prioritising our local amateur groups and societies at the venue, to ensure that when the Octagon is closed, they continue to be able to stage their productions that are so important to our communities."