IT may look more like a building site than anything else at the moment.

But under the scaffolding, exposed pipework and sections of air-conditioning systems, the new Pegasus Theatre is beginning to take shape.

The work going on behind painted hoardings and scaffolding in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, marks the final stages of a £7.4m project to revamp the theatre and create a hub for the community.

This week the project reached a “75 per cent complete” milestone. The majority of the exterior work is finished, and plastering and painting is starting inside the structure.

The new-look theatre is due to reopen in September.

Project director Simon Daykin said: “It only seems five minutes since we were demolishing the buildings, but it was a year ago now.

“Things have gone very smoothly and at the moment we are on schedule and on budget.”

The theatre is being almost entirely rebuilt around the existing auditorium, with new facilities including a workshop area, dressing rooms, flexible seating, a new foyer and café, plus a studio with a sprung floor for dancing.

A corridor running around the auditorium will be painted with floor patterns and colour blocks, leading visitors around the building, and a members’ green room is being created which will be designed and decorated from designs by members of Oxford Youth Theatre, which is based at Pegasus.

Mr Daykin said: “A lot of what we are doing is trying to reflect the idea of Pegasus being a magical forest, which is what the young people said they saw it as.

“We are putting a lot of internal windows in to get light through the building, and there is one point where you can stand upstairs and see from the front of the building all the way to the back, through several different rooms.”

Artist Matthew Sanderson has designed a tree sculpture to stand in the foyer. The 7.5m high structure is made of four and a half kilometres of steel wire – enough to stretch from the theatre to the Oxford Playhouse in Beaumont Street. It will hold dozens of acrylic petals and fruits, each bearing a message from someone who donated to the fundraising campaign to build the new theatre.

A ‘chandelier’ formed of wire pictures designed by members of the community in workshops last year will also occupy a central space in the building.

Solar panels will be installed on every south-facing pitch of the roof, providing enough energy to power the theatre and more besides, while copper panelling on the front of the building is designed to change with age as it is exposed to the elements, acting as the building’s ‘skin’.

And a chunk of wall from the demolished former outbuildings will be reinstated in a new garden area, inscribed with messages from members of the theatre past and present.

Mr Daykin said: “We want everyone walking past to notice us and I think you won’t be able to go on the bus down Iffley Road without saying ‘Wow, look at that’.

“It will be a warm inviting place and even if people just come in to get warm for five minutes or to look at the sculpture, we will be happy to see them.”

Head of marketing Gill Jaggers added: “It’s tremendously exciting.

“We’ve been sitting here, looking out of the window from our offices next door since the demolition began and watching it progress very slowly.

“Now everything is happening on the inside, we won’t be able to see it, so the anticipation is enormous.”