MALVERN'S leading amateur theatre company is hoping to buy the theatre where it has staged plays for the past eight years.

The Coach House Theatre in Grange Road has been the venue for Malvern Theatre Players since 2006, after its conversion from a scenery workshop and store to a fully-fledged studio theatre.

It is currently owned by Malvern Hills District Council, who rent it out to the Players, but now the group wants to buy it outright.

And on Tuesday, January 28, the council's executive committee is being asked to approve the sale of the building for an undisclosed sum.

The Players want to buy the freehold because it will give them greater security of tenure. This in turn will give them access to funding to pay for a proposed extension to the theatre.

The extension will mean more seats in the auditorium and improved backstage facilities. Planning permission for the extension was granted recently, as reported in the Gazette.

The upgrade is aimed at attracting professional groups which need a smaller venue than the Festival Theatre.