The opening of a new extension to the Headgate Theatre in Colchester took place this week.

Volunteers, dignitaries and those connected to the history of the theatre saw Eddie McKay, former chair of the Theatre Arts Action Trust, cut the ribbon to the £170,000 refurb.

Thanks to money from the Hervey Benham Trust, as well as theatre finances and fundraising, the Headgate now has a new rehearsal space, meeting room, office and workshop spaces, as well as accessible toilets and a new foyer area.

The Theatre Arts Action Trust was formed in the Eighties to find a permanent home for the town's burgeoning community arts scene.

Finding the former Victorian Chapel it now resides in, the theatre was finally open for its first show in 2002.

Mrs McKay said: "We have to thank many people for this great opportunity to extend the work this wonderful theatre does for the arts scene in the town. Dave King for acting quickly when he discovered the building next door was available, the committee and fundraising teams for making it happen, and stage manager Stephen Peeling, for project managing the work."

Anyone interested in hiring the new spaces can call the box office on 01206 366000 or go on-line at