HALIFAX -- A fire has broken out at the Chester Playhouse on Nova Scotia's South Shore.

The theatre says the building has been evacuated and no one was hurt as a result of the fire.

Firefighters from Chester and surrounding communities are working hard to contain the flames.

It is asking residents to avoid the area so fire crews can do their job.

Built in 1938, the 176-seat theatre originally operated as a movie house.

It is known for its variety of professional music and theatre performances, films and community events.

Last year the Playhouse received nearly $700,000 in funding from all three levels of government to upgrade and restore its historical building.

 The restoration work was expected to be completed this month, according a release issued at the time. 

The renovations included reconfiguring the interior to make it more accessible, improved backstage and technical services, including sound and lighting, as well as making environmental, structural and safety improvements.