Plans for the future of Sheffield city centre theatre and arts space The Montgomery are now well under way.

The Surrey Street venue, loved by generations of Sheffield community theatre companies, is aiming to see an ambitious programme of refurbishment work begin in 2022, with completion set for 2023.

And the venue’s Managing Director, Dawn Reynolds, says that with early planning stages now well under way, she is more confident than ever that the project can be completed on time.

“We have already had some extremely productive and constructive meetings with our most regular users, the community theatre companies of Sheffield, and are delighted that they are very supportive of what we have planned,” she said.

“There was a lively and constructive discussion about what was needed and I think everybody recognises the part The Monty has to play in the cultural life of the city.

“I am now working on key strategic documents that will go to our trustees before we take the project on the next vital step, the development of a feasibility study.

“Only once that is in place can we start talking to architectural designers and, even more importantly, begin the massive fundraising process that will be the key to the project’s success.”

Among the proposals currently aimed at bringing the complex firmly into the 21st century are a complete refurbishment of the front of house, main auditorium and backstage facilities.

A new Surrey Street main frontage would give the venue a much greater presence and identity.

A new affordable recording studio, bar area, improved toilet facilities and public spaces are just some ideas that would enhance the venue and create a more welcoming environment for visitors.

And the installation of a lift would address the long-standing problem of access, enabling The Montgomery to offer more relaxed performances, dementia friendly workshops and more, making it a theatre and arts centre available to everyone.

“We want The Monty to be loved by all the communities of Sheffield which means it has to be accessible, bright and ready for 21st century usage while at the same time retaining that important feeling for its remarkable heritage – a heritage that goes back well over a hundred years.

“What we want is for the community companies to see The Monty as their theatre and their arts centre, somewhere that can be called home and can be built on and developed together.”