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A Victorian theatre building for young people has been rescued by a grant worth £660,000.

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Half Moon Young People’s Theatre in White Horse Road, Stepney, received the funding from the Arts Council England towards urgent repair work needed to the exterior of the locally listed building.

Without the work, the theatre built in 1864, is at risk of becoming uninhabitable, according to the theatre’s spokesman.

The ornate Victorian façade of the building is said to be deteriorating rapidly and requiring renovation.

The sides of the building need re-rendering and although the roof is mostly in good condition, the guttering is understood to be in urgent need of replacement.

Chair of the Half Moon board, Julian Sutton said: “This is fantastic news for the theatre and for the East End, preserving a vital community resource and important piece of the area’s heritage.

“This funding will enable us to continue here at the heart of the local community, offering professional theatre for and with young people of all backgrounds that seeks to inform, challenge and shape their artistic potential.”

This round of funding is part of a larger three phase capital project, of which the first phase was completed in October 2012. The first phase provided a more spacious entrance, open foyer area and a new lift allowing independent access to the venue for disabled people.

The building was brought back into use in the early 1990s after falling derelict in the 1980s.

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