And now newly released images show what the council has in store for the theatre as upgrade plans have been revealed as part of a £13.7million investment.
Reading Borough Council won a share of the government’s ‘levelling up’ fund which means work to transform the site could begin as early as August 2024.
Plans would see a new rehearsal space for performances and a new studio auditorium which can seat up to 300 people. The entrance would also be enhanced to provide ‘greater accessibility’.
The council won £19.1 million in central government funding to upgrade The Hexagon and bring the Central Library into the council’s civic offices in Bridge Street.
The project for The Hexagon will cost £13.7 million with the council ‘match funding’ the upgrade with funds taken from its capital budget.
A planning application is set to be submitted by the council early next year. If the project is approved, work could begin as early as August 2024.
The Hexagon will remain open, with its regular schedule of theatre, comedy, music and ballet performances continuing to go ahead during the transformation.
The existing auditorium in the main Hexagon building will also be upgraded with lighting, sound, and new electrics.
The improvements to The Hexagon will take place after the council appointed contractors Haworth Tompkins as the lead architect and Equals Consulting as the project managers in July.
The site falls into the wider transformation of the area known as the Minster Quarter, which covers the Broad Street Mall and the public space between the mall, Reading Magistrates Court and the Thames Valley Police headquarters in Castle Street.
The council has huge plans to build 618 homes in the area, which is currently made up of concrete paving, scattered public seating and the Lavender Place Community Gardens, which roughly occupies where the old Civic Offices once stood.
Separate from that, Broad Street Mall owners AEW revealed its own plan to add 601 apartments to the rear of the centre, and prospective developers S2 are hoping to replace the police headquarters with 260 apartments.
The civic offices were relocated to Bridge Street in 2014, with the demolition of the old building taking place in 2015 and 2016.