IT WAS curtains up for a whole new future for Ross Operatic and Dramatic Society members when they learned they had landed a £50,000 grant.

The lottery funding will help the planned £120,000 extension of the little Phoenix Theatre so that it can seat around 100 instead of the present 63.

"It will also give us better disabled access, a new foyer and a rehearsal room," said a delighted Derek Wood, chairman of the group.

"Planning permission for the work was agreed last April. It was the full amount of the grant we applied for and we are very pleased. Work should begin in the autumn."

Mr Wood said they were now in the final phase of raising the full amount for the whole project and applications were in progress for further funding.

The £50,000 has come from the Regional Arts Lottery Programme administered by West Midlands Arts and was part of a £348,000 package for projects in the region.

West Midlands Arts chief executive Sally Luton said: "These projects are a great way to demonstrate lottery funding supporting our artists in the West Midlands, and in turn boosting our wider economy.

"The innovation and talent here never ceases to amaze me, and it is good to see Lottery funding making a real difference."