Belfast-based builder Gilbert Ash NI has started work on the new Everyman theatre in Liverpool.
The new venue on Hope Street has been designed by Haworth Tompkins.
The old Everyman closed in July 2011 and was demolished to make way for a new three-storey, 15,500 sq ft purpose-built facility.
Campaigners still need to raise around £1m of the £28m project costs and used the groundbreaking to launch the 'Everyone for the Everyman' public appeal.
The scheme is part of a project by the theatre trust which includes work at the Playhouse theatre in Williamson Square which it also operates.
Funding was provided by Arts Council England, £16.8m, North West Development Agency, £2.5m, European Regional Development Fund, £5.9m, and other public and private bodies.
Everyman and Playhouse executive director Deborah Aydon said: "The beginning of the build is a phenomenally exciting moment. We have raised 98% of the funds needed to complete the building, and are now asking those who love the Everyman – and we know there are a great many who do, very passionately – to play their part in making the new theatre the best it can be.
"The new building will be a wonderful thing, but it is not the end of the story: it's the beginning of the next chapter. So funds raised through the Everyone for the Everyman appeal will also support the writers, actors, directors and designers of the future, so that the new theatre will be an exciting creative hub for many decades to come."