Riverside Studios launched an appeal yesterday to raise pounds 3.3m to fund a major refurbishment.

After an initial facelift of the premises in Hammersmith, it will reopen on Friday for the first time in almost six months. It hopes to attract support from the arts community to ensure its doors stay open. Money will be raised in two stages, with pounds 300,000 needed by the start of the next financial year and the remainder over the next three years.

William Burdett-Coutts, Riverside's director, is assembling an appeal committee of actors, directors and local supporters. It is not known which celebrities will offer their services, but Steven Berkoff and Vanessa Redgrave were present at yesterday's launch.

Mr Burdett-Coutts said much work still needed to be done to return the complex to its former glory. He has angered local residents with plans for a floating nightspot, built from a converted car ferry.