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Derby Playhouse entrance

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:Eagle Centre
:Derby Playhouse entrance
:Derby Evening Telegraph
:Derby Evening Telegraph
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The Derby Playhouse entrance and shops. The Eagle Centre was constructed in 1972, and extensively rebuilt in the early 1990s. The present day Derby Playhouse was officially opened on 20th September 1975 by the Duke of Devonshire. The original Playhouse had opened as the Little Theatre in Becket Street, back in 1948, in a converted Church Hall; in 1952, the company moved to further converted premises in Sacheverel Street, surviving a major fire in 1956 and becoming an indispensable part of Britain's regional theatre network. In the 1960's and early 70's there was a renaissance in arts funding; government investment in the Arts Council of Great Britain's 'Housing the Arts' fund enabled towns and cities all over the country either to renovate existing theatres, or commission new ones; as a result, new theatres were being constructed all over the country. With its success in Sacheverel Street, Derby Playhouse, too, wanted its own brand new, purpose-built theatre, so formed the New Theatre Trust in order to raise the local funding necessary for the project. Roderick Ham - who had already designed the Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead - was commissioned to design the new theatre, and the City Council offered the site as part of the new shopping development, the Eagle Centre. The Playhouse opened with Mark Woolgar's production of My Fair Lady and the high-profile first season continued with Hamlet and concluded the following summer with Allestree-born Alan Bates in The Seagull, a production which went on to play for a season in London. The new theatre had a third more seats than the old, and already attendances at 65% demonstrated that there was strong support for professional theatre in Derby. In the 25 years since the Playhouse has been in the Eagle Centre there have been over 10,000 performances, seen by more than 2,500,000 people. The Playhouse has presented over 200 Main House Company productions, almost 100 Studio productions, over 160 Tours-In, more than 300 amateur productions and over 540 concerts. There have been no fewer than 70 world premieres. The Box Office has taken almost £7.5 million, which has generated over £1 million in VAT. Over the last 25 years, the Playhouse has received investment in the form of grants from its funding bodies - Derby City Council, Arts Council, East Midlands Arts, Derbyshire County Council - in excess of £8 million.