OXFORD Playhouse is planning a major refurbishment to draw a wider audience to the Beaumont Street theatre.

In a two-year project, bosses hope to refurbish and replace the interiors.

Chairs and carpets will be replaced in the auditorium, and the room will be repainted.

In the lobby, the plan is to install a new ticket counter and replace the floor, carpet and handrails, as well as refurbish the ground-floor disabled toilets.

The circle bar will also be redecorated and refurbished while a suspended ceiling will be installed to hide ventilation ducts and electrics.

The project is set to cost £650,000.

Interim director at the theatre Polly Cole said: “We’re quite excited, it means we can get nice, new shiny facilities for our audience “We want to refurbish our public facilities, as our auditorium has not been re-done for 25 years, and our front-of-house was last refurbished in 1996.

“The project would start with the cafe bar, but we are not changing the space or knocking anything down, it will be a simple refurbishment.

“Then in the following year we are looking at the auditorium.

“This is not a large-scale change.”

Producer at the theatre Michelle Walker added: “We are keeping the layout and the leg room the same, we’re just updating it to make the audience experience better.”

The Playhouse has submitted a planning application to Oxford City Council, which will make a final decision.

The application says: “The proposals have been designed as part of the theatre’s rebranding process, which seek to market the Oxford Playhouse to a wider audience and thus increase the theatre’s operational revenue.

“This has been identified as a necessity to enable the theatre to continue presenting a celebrated and varied programme of high quality drama, dance, music, comedy, poetry and lecture.”

Built as a repertory theatre in 1938, the Oxford Playhouse was the last new theatre to be constructed before the Second World War.

Actors who have performed there include Sir John Gielgud, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Ronnie Barker and Dirk Bogarde.