IF THEATR Clwyd doesn't receive vital redevelopment works it could close within five years, its executive director has said.

Multi-million pound plans for the transformation of the theatre were unveiled at the beginning of August.

As well as reimagining the public spaces within the building, the proposed scheme included dedicated facilities for health and wellbeing and community projects.

The Leader caught up with executive director Liam Evans Ford at the theatre's recent open day to hear more about the vital need for the scheme.

He explained: "Theatr Clwyd was built in 1976 to a high standard, but it has had no major investment for over 43 years.

"The building isn't used for exactly the same purpose it was built for and the mechanics, engineering and electrics are 43 years old."

He explained there are also numerous places throughout the building where holes in the roof have cause leaking issues, adding: "We have to solve all of those things so we protect this theatre, the work it does for its communities, the people it employs and it's economic impact in North Wales for future generations."

Mr Evans Ford and artistic director Tamara Harvey delivered a presentation to attendees of the open day to set out the situation and explain their vision for the scheme.

He said: "From the day this place opened its doors, it has been a wold class producing theatre.

"The arts are important culturally, but they are also important for the money they they bring to the area.

"We employ 93 people, we have 115 relief workers and bring over 300 creatives to the area every year.

"Last year £9.4 million was generated in the local economy because of the work we do.

"There was a condition report done on the building in 2010 and at that point just to make this building up to modern day standards, it was an estimated £13 to £15 million.

"This is the scale of the challenge in front of us - the building is exhausted.

"This is a £30 million scheme at least. The Arts Council of Wales has committed more than £1 million to this stage of the work. Flintshire Council has match funded that with £330,000.

"The Arts Council has ringfenced another £5 million for the project. We are their main strategic priority."

Describing the progress in securing further investment, he added: "We have been in touch for the last 18 months with local politicians and officers of the Welsh Government and we have had a lot of formal and informal correspondence.

"How they're speaking at moment is about £25m element of support for this project. They recognise this as a nationally significant project.

"We're not doing anything extravagant. In all honesty, if we don't deliver this project and get that support this building is at end of life and will have to close in five years - and that's really not scaremongering.

"We've got enough to keep it going for a few years but it will become unsafe after that.

"I don't think that a first minster or a minister for culture or the economy or tourism will want the biggest producing theatre in Wales to close on their watch.

"A place that employs hundreds of people a year and generates over £9million pound in the local economy each year - it doesn't make sense."

Tamara Harvey explained part of the project will include building a new workshop space onto the building, which will make things easier and more efficient for the theatre to produce sets for productions.

She told attendees that the theatre will not close during the redevelopment and encouraged the public to continue coming to enjoy events and shows.

There will always be two theatre spaces available throughout the scheme, she explained.

At first this will include the Anthony Hopkins Theatre and a pop-up temporary theatre space.

When the Anthony Hopkins space is handed over to contractors, the pop-up theatre will remain and the second theatre space will be in the new workshop area, for nine months only.

Ms Harvey said: "After 43 years, a building isn't made of bricks and mortar any more - particularly a cultural building where people come to laugh and cry.

"A building starts to be made of people's memories.

"We need you to keep believing and keep buying tickets and coming up the hill and tell other people how important it is.

"We're also going to be asking you to help raise money. There will be about a £3million pot that we have to raise from trusts and foundations, individuals and business sponsorship."

She also explained an aim of the development would be to turn Theatr Clwyd into a place where people can visit for the day, with good food and drink, as well as being an inviting destination for anyone driving past and a home for the community.

Attendees at the presentation were also told the scheme also aims to turn the Theatr Clwyd into the "greenest theatre in the UK" and that within the first few years after the redevelopment the aims is to make the building better than carbon neutral. Mr Evans Ford explained the scheme is expected to go to planning stages in October, with the final designs to be drawn up towards the end of 2020.

Work on the site is expected to begin in April 2021.