Peterlee's new theatre honours architect Berthold Lubetkin

A new theatre has taken its name from the man who hoped his designs for a post-war town would become a reality.

Architect Berthold Lubetkin was commissioned to be the master planner for Peterlee, but saw his ideas of high-rises flounder because of red tape and opposition.

Now East Durham College has honoured his efforts with its 2million Lubetkin Theatre.

It was opened by Sasha Lubetkin, the daughter of the late Russian-born designer.

She said: "I'm immensely proud this beautiful theatre has been named after my father and that his work is remembered, in spite of the brutal way it ended.

"He had such dreams for Peterlee. He wanted to turn it into the miners' capital of the world.

"His respect and admiration of the miners made him want to create something really special that didn't exist anywhere else but, unfortunately, that wasn't possible."

A group of students from the college's performing arts department were among those who took part in the opening ceremony.

The theatre was built as part of the new 38million Peterlee campus. It has a 220-seat auditorium fitted with retractable seating and a de-mountable stage so it can be used for film screenings, presentations, award ceremonies and conferences in addition to theatre and music productions.

Ian Prescott, principal and chief executive of the college, said: "I believe if Berthold Lubetkin was still alive today he would be delighted because within the new East Durham College, he would find many of the facilities he had planned and felt the area deserved.

"It was Lubetkin's belief that the people of East Durham should have access to quality theatre and cultural experiences, and it's a belief I share."

Theatre honour for architect.

Among Lubetkin's plans for Peterlee were a number of high-rise towers which would have become home to a civic centre.