It’s going to be a little haven in the heart of bustling York.
Work has begun to create a pocket park on the patio of York Theatre Royal.
The £150k project aims to provide a family-friendly outdoor space that’s adaptable and able to host a variety of activities all year round.
The scheme was launched with a public appeal for donations in 2018 but work has delayed until now by pandemic restrictions.
The garden is in an historic location between two listed buildings – the Theatre Royal and De Grey House on St Leonard’s Place.
Originally an extended garden between these buildings, the patio area was created as part of the Patrick Gwynn design for the 1967 foyer extension of the theatre. The design included unique 1960s triangular paving.
Yorkshire-based company Lizzie Tulip Landscape and Garden Design has worked on the project. Lizzie is a Chelsea Flower Show medal winner.
Trees, shrubs, perennials, ferns, ornamental grasses and climbers will provide colour and structure. The vegetation will boost birds and insects too.
Theatrical references within the planting scheme are included – rose varieties Rosa Falstaff and Dame Judi Dench take centre stage in the summer.
The design includes a flexible performance space with staging, an outdoor café area and lighting that will enable evening use of the space.
A new ramp will make the space fully accessible for wheelchair and buggy users.
Work on transforming the space began this week and should be completed by September this year.
What they say
Lizzie Tulip said:
The scheme will open up and make accessible this under-utilised space as an environment for visitor and residents to enjoy as a garden for theatre, a garden for entertainment and a garden for relaxation and refreshment.
It is such a pleasure to work on this much-needed Green space within the skirt of the city walls and York Minster.
Jonathan Bryant, chief executive of York Conservation Trust, said:
York Conservation Trust is proud to have a strong partner relationship with York Citizens Theatre Trust through which it cares for York Theatre Royal for the benefit of York’s many communities and visitors to our city.
The Patio Garden Project reminds us that theatre can have many stages. It makes excellent use of external space adjacent to the highly-acclaimed 1967 extension by Patrick Gwynn and will be a valuable new public space in the city.
Costs have risen on the project from £50,000 to £150k “to ensure accessibility and sustainability as well as inflationary price rises for materials and services”.
You can donate to the project here.