The Northcott Theatre will be used as a teaching space two days a week from September 2015, the University has announced.
The theatre on Streatham Campus, which has a capacity of 464 seats, will hold lectures on Thursdays and Fridays as part of plans unveiled by the University to accommodate rising student numbers.
The space will now be adapted to include house lighting, audio-visual and lecture capture, wifi and informal study spaces around the entrance lobby of the theatre.
Since opening in 1967, The Northcott Theatre has been used to host performances by student societies such as Exeter University Theatre Company, and Exeter University Footlights Society, as well as shows by local community companies.
Explaining the decision, Director of Campus Services Phil Attwell said: “The theatre has a central campus location, so was an obvious choice to consider for expanding the number of large lecture venues.
“We are delighted that the theatre has been able to accommodate us around their artistic programme and I am sure that it will make the Northcott feel more part of the campus rather than just on the campus”
Speaking about the changes, VP Education Ben Street said: “With the obvious demands on large teaching spaces, I understand the University’s desire to take on the Northcott Theatre as a lecture theatre for two days a week.
“I hope this move is not used as an opportunity to accommodate larger cohort sizes and that everything is done to preserve the primary function of the Northcott as a theatre and to increase student access to and use of the space”.
This announcement follows the news that the pilot scheme to extend the University teaching day by an additional hour next year will now be a permanent change.