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York Theatre Royal Releases Details of £4.1 Million Improvement

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3:42pm 14th July 2014

York Theatre Royal is delighted to receive the news that the organisation has been awarded £2.9 million towards its £4.1 million Redevelopment Project. 

The Award from Arts Council England is the most significant investment in the Theatre since the 1967 foyer extension.  The Theatre will close next March for eight months, during which time the foyer space will be increased, the auditorium reconfigured and refurbished and the whole building made more accessible. 

The key parts of the project will include:-

  • The glazing-in of the colonnade and opening up the space around what is now Exhibition Corridor to create new and more spacious welcome areas as well as improving the audience flow around the building.  
  • The reconfiguration of the Stalls area of the auditorium and the stage to create much better views for audiences.
  • The addition of a foyer lift to improve access around the space and also to provide new seating areas for wheelchair users in the Dress Circle.
  • To be a greener and more sustainable organisation.
  • Allow the Theatre to make the best possible use of the space to maximise income and help secure its financial future.

The entire project will cost £4.1 million.  The Arts Council England award of £2.9 million, along with contributions from City of York Council, Garfield Weston Foundation, Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, The Feoffees of St Michaels, Spurriergate and Joseph Roundtree Foundation, brings the total amount raised to date to £3.6 million, leaving just £500,000 to find. 

Over the next few months York Theatre Royal will be completing the fundraising through further applications to trusts and foundations as well as public appeals, which will be unveiled over the coming months.

The Theatre will close on Tuesday 17 March 2015, but legendary panto dame, Berwick Kaler, will be back to reopen the newly development venue in the following December.

Whilst closed, York Theatre Royal will be revisiting the innovative relationship with the National Railway Museum that was responsible for producing the Olivier Award Winning Railway Children in 2008 and 2010. 

The Theatre and Museum will be restaging The Railway Children in a temporary purpose-built space in the Museum Grounds.  The two partners are also working on a brand new community play called Steam (working title) that will allow audiences to explore the Museum’s on-site collections in innovative and exciting ways. 

York Theatre Royal Chief Executive, Liz Wilson, said “A theatre has been operating on this site since 1744. We are immensely proud of the fact that York Theatre Royal is the oldest continuously working theatre in the country outside of London, but, more so because what we have here is not a museum; it is still a thriving venue, hugely loved by the people of York and the surrounding area and integral to the healthy cultural life of this city.  This investment allows us to take the next step in securing our future and ensuring we continue to provide the very best theatrical experiences for the next generation”.

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