A beloved theatre known as “The Tardis of Loughton” is receiving its first major upgrade since opening 135 years ago.

Lopping Hall in High Road will receive brand new facilities in its kitchen, bar and meeting room, all paid for through donations and fundraising.

The theatre plans to hold an opening ceremony when the renovation is completed in March.

Director Alan Martin, from Woodford, said a donation of £20,000 came from a couple via their will.

He said: “There’s a lot going on at the moment in quite a short period of time.

“So many people don’t realise what’s inside and now the inside has changed completely.”

Mr Martin said just a few years ago a bucket would often be on stage during productions to catch rainwater leaking.

That has now been fixed.

Built in 1884, Lopping Hall gained its Dr Who themed nickname due to a small entrance that opens out into a spacious 200 seat theatre.

Thanks to donations made within the community £25,000 will be spent on new state of the art lighting and a completely re-configured stage.

“The people who use the hall are so excited,” Mr Martin added.

“There’s probably around 20 to 30 groups who regularly use the Hall.

"East 15 Acting School who operate here have trained very famous actors. It’s a big cultural hub.”

Mr Martin is also looking for more directors to sit on the board of The Lopping Endowment Corporate Trustee Ltd, a registered charity.

“Each director can influence the direction of Lopping Hall and bring their own expertise to the Management Board if they so wish," he explained.

To find out more, go to loppinghall.btck.co.uk