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Brighton's Pavilion Theatre set for renaming
A historic theatre is to be renamed as part of a rebrand of one of the county’s major entertainment centres.
Nearly 500,000 people a year visit the grade I listed Brighton Dome complex.
However, bosses at the buildings in Pavilion Gardens claim research has told them people have problems knowing where the arts venue is.
However, some have likened it to the renaming of Brighton’s Palace Pier, saying it would lead to confusion and a loss of tradition.
This comes after Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee voted to defer making a decision on wider proposals until its next meeting in three weeks.
Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Dome and Festival, said: “The aim is to improve the visibility and usability of our venues for our audiences and potential visitors.
“Brighton Dome Pavilion Theatre is being renamed to overcome some of the confusion between its neighbours and it.
“We widely surveyed audiences, residents and staff about renaming options and have gone with the overwhelming choice of Brighton Dome Studio. The name reflects our ambition to turn the venue into an exciting and innovative producing space for the creation of new work that nurtures our excellent seasonal theatre and music programmes.”
But local historian Geoffrey Mead said: “I’m wary of renaming things. It has been the Pavilion Theatre for as long as I can remember. I cannot see why they should change it.
“It really backfired when the owners of the Palace Pier tried to do a similar thing.”
The Dome and Corn Exchange was originally built as a riding school and stables as part of the Royal Pavilion development between 1803 and 1808.
The grade II listed Pavilion Theatre was built in about 1935 as a supper room and later converted to a theatre.
The rebranding plan would see four long black banners put along the Church Street frontage.
Bosses also want to paint the ticket office in New Road black and remove a historic canopy.
Some conservationists, including the Brighton Society, Regency Society and North Laine Community Association, opposed the changes claiming they were “grubby”, “inappropriate” and would make the protected buildings look like a “funeral parlour”.
However English Heritage and the council’s own heritage team supported the plans, claiming there was “clear justification” for the changes.
The decision to defer was taken after some councillors raised concerns about the planned materials and size of features.
Conservative councillor Ken Norman said: “I don’t see the need to rebrand. We all know where we are supposed to go.”
Green councillor Phelim MacCafferty said: “It’s incredibly important to appeal to the audiences. If we can help them build their audiences then I think we should.”