Christmas lights lit up Kingston Square as Hull New Theatre celebrated its half-way milestone in the multi million pound redevelopment.

Entering its 36th week, the project will see the theatre fitted with a new stage and more than 150 extra seats, as well as a new café bar and restaurant for visitors.

Key partners Esteem Consortium, Hull City Council and Hull New Theatre, were joined by local and national media, as well as the Lord Mayor of Hull, for exclusive tours around the theatre. Christmas lights were switched on at the highest point of the crane which is currently helping to construct the new fly tower.

After seeing the progress of the refurbishment, Richard King, Chair of Esteem Consortium board, said: “It’s really atmospheric. You get a sense of this being an area of theatre and performance.

“We now have a backstage and have the opportunity to perform and stage productions, which really are contemporary and fit for the 21st century.

“It will be wonderful coming to Hull in the future and seeing so much more of what’s best in performing arts here.”

Stephen Brady, leader of Hull City Council, said it will be one of the finest theatres outside of London.

He said: “It’s great to see the progress that Sewell has made working with the council. They are right on schedule and I can see that it’s really starting to take shape. It’s really exciting to see.

“The older building was simply outdated for what is now necessary. For bigger shows, more space was needed and better facilities were needed.”

Hull Culture and Leisure operate the theatre on behalf of Hull City Council. The project is taking place alongside the development of the Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC), transforming the historic Kingston Square in Hull City Centre.