THE show will go on - and will be accessible to all - now that a theatre has received a much-welcomed cash boost.

The Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis has been awarded a £5,000 grant by the Gannett Foundation.

The foundation is the charitable arm of Gannett Co Inc., the parent company of Newsquest Media Group, one of the UK’s largest publishers and owners of the Bridport & Lyme Regis News.

The funding will go towards improving disabled access at the theatre, something director Gabby Rabbitts, who has recently taken over at the venue, says will 'help the theatre to become accessible to all.'

Ms Rabbitts said: "We were absolutely thrilled when we heard about the award. In the recent past, the Marine has had some difficult challenges to overcome. With a new director, marketing manager and new successful events, this is adds to the good news. It really feels like the award marks a new chapter at putting the venue at the heart of the community.

"For a long time, local people have been raising money tirelessly for the creation of a disabled toilet. At the moment, wheelchair users must leave the building to visit a loo. Clearly, this is not acceptable, and although staff have known this for years, they have been powerless to change the situation. The Gannett Foundation has helped the theatre to become accessible to all, making sure that all of our community can participate in the arts."

Charities up and down the UK are in line for grants totalling nearly £300,000 from Gannett's fund, and Ms Rabbitt's says fundraising would be 'a lot harder' without such grants.

"No matter how successful, the best creative venues and theatres around the country still depend on the support of patrons, grants, supporters, and generous organisations such as the Gannett Foundation," she said. "Lyme Regis is so lucky to have a historic theatre - everyone from James Cagney and Charlie Chaplin to The Kinks have performed here. Without such financial help, things would be a lot harder, and the theatre would not be accessible for all."

Ms Rabbitts would recommend others apply for the grant.

"Many grants and awards are very cumbersome and difficult to apply for," she said. "The Gannett Foundation has as sensible application procedure and a fair and transparent system for awarding their grants. As a consequence, I would implore other ambitious organisations to apply."