Issued by York Theatre Royal
York Theatre Royal is able to announce today that it has successfully got through the Stage One application process of the Arts Council’s large scale capital grants. It will receive financial support to enable it to develop the project in more detail and secure a grant of £2.9 million from the Arts Council Capital Lottery Fund.
York Theatre Royal has taken a significant step in adding to its rich architectural heritage. Since the first theatre was built on the site in 1744 each generation has added to the theatre buildings in a bid to improve the experience for its audiences and theatre-makers.
This project will create an overall improved welcome to the theatre by a radical redesign of the front of the building which includes enclosing and glazing in the colonnade and opening out currently unused areas of the theatre. This will double the size of the public areas and create an attractive and animated face to the street as well as improve the flow of audience and visitors.
The proposed re-furbishment will also create a profound shift in the quality of experience in the main theatre auditorium through a change in the audience relationship to the stage that will increase the intimacy and flexibility of the main theatre space.
It will also create a new performance space in the De Grey Rooms offering a new range of work in the city.
Overall the changes will improve physical access in the theatre through an expanded step-free foyer and the installation of a lift that will create access to the dress circle and upper foyer, opening up facilities to the audience and visitor.
Liz Wilson, Chief Executive of York Theatre Royal said: “We are delighted to have been granted the funds to take the exciting and much needed development of the theatre on to the next phase.
“If all goes to plan this will mean us working on the front of house areas of the theatre and the auditorium during 2015. In the meantime we have lots of work to do on the design scheme and on securing further funding.”
Alongside the Arts Council funding York Theatre Royal will receive a significant capital contribution from City of York Council.
Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “We are pleased to be supporting York Theatre Royal in this exciting development. The theatre has always been at the heart of the city’s cultural offer and these plans will help it to reach new audiences and enhance everyone’s theatre experience.
“Along with our investment in the Art Gallery, the Reinvigorate York project to redesign Exhibition Square and the refurbishment of St Leonard’s Place, this news will help to completely transform this part of the city, making it into a high quality cultural hub for York.”
Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director, Arts Council England said: “York Theatre Royal’s plans to redevelop its building to create a 21st century performance experience will strengthen the theatre’s reputation as a home for innovation and high-quality theatre.
“More significantly, the transformation of the theatre and the greater diversity of activity will encourage even more people to enjoy the arts and ensure that York Theatre Royal will continue to flourish in the future.”
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