York Theatre Royal set for huge revamp

York Press: York Theatre Royal set for huge revamp York Theatre Royal set for huge revamp

A £4 MILLION refurbishment of York Theatre Royal is set to go ahead after the venue won vital backing from the Arts Council.

The theatre is likely to receive £2.9 million in lottery funding towards the cost of the project, which will include enclosing and glazing in the colonnade in St Leonard’s Place to double the size of the entrance and cafe areas.

The plans also involve major changes inside the auditorium – including the stage and stalls seating – to increase its intimacy and flexibility and change the audience’s relationship to the stage.

For example, it will be easier to switch to theatre-in-the-round for certain productions and the stalls seating will be higher than it is currently, allowing the existing raked stage to be replaced by a flat stage.

A new performance space will also be created in the De Grey Rooms, allowing a new range of work to be performed, and the theatre will have an expanded step-free foyer. A lift is also set to be installed to improve access to the dress circle and upper foyer.

A theatre spokeswoman said it had got through the first stage of the arts council’s application process for a large scale capital grant, so it could now develop the project in more detail to secure the £2.9 million grant from the council’s Capital Lottery Fund.

Chief executive Liz Wilson said funds had been granted to take the “exciting and much-needed development” on to the next phase. She said: “If all goes to plan, this will mean us working on the front-of-house areas of the theatre and the auditorium during 2015.”

The theatre would have to close for several months that year while the work was taking place.

The theatre will receive significant capital funding from City of York Council. Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “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.”

Coun Crisp said that along with the investment in the Art Gallery, the Reinvigorate York project to redesign Exhibition Square and the refurbishment of St Leonard’s Place, this part of the city would be transformed, making it a “high-quality cultural hub.”

Cluny Macpherson, regional director of Arts Council England, said the theatre’s plans to create a 21st century performance experience would 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,” he said.


The last piece in cultural jigsaw

THE Theatre Royal’s announcement completes an extraordinary jigsaw of cultural redevelopment projects in the area.

The City Art Gallery, on the other side of Exhibition Square, recently closed for a £8 million revamp, which will include the creation of a stunning new gallery in a “secret” room in the original Victorian roofspace.

The square itself is set to undergo improvements under the Reinvigorate York initiative. The ballroom at the De Grey Rooms has also been restored, the University of York has invested in historic Kings Manor and leading hotel operator Malmaison wants to move into the crescent of council offices just across the road from the theatre.

Professor Ron Cooke, who chairs Reinvigorate York and is vice-chairman of York Civic Trust, said the theatre announcement was “absolutely wonderful news,” coming on top of all the other related developments in the area.

These would also involve improvements to bus movements and waiting arrangements.

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:03pm Tue 22 Jan 13

dementia says...

Bah get wet now waiting for bus
Bah get wet now waiting for bus dementia

3:14pm Tue 22 Jan 13

JHardacre says...

dementia wrote:
Bah get wet now waiting for bus
Great to read your positive comment (not!).
[quote][p][bold]dementia[/bold] wrote: Bah get wet now waiting for bus[/p][/quote]Great to read your positive comment (not!). JHardacre

3:18pm Tue 22 Jan 13

Rosieposie says...

And about time too. Very good news. We already get more shows and acts in York than larger towns and cities this will just make York an even better place for the arts.
And about time too. Very good news. We already get more shows and acts in York than larger towns and cities this will just make York an even better place for the arts. Rosieposie

3:37pm Tue 22 Jan 13

pedalling paul says...

dementia wrote:
Bah get wet now waiting for bus
I usually park my bike there if I'm calling into the box office to buy tickets. Drat!...
[quote][p][bold]dementia[/bold] wrote: Bah get wet now waiting for bus[/p][/quote]I usually park my bike there if I'm calling into the box office to buy tickets. Drat!... pedalling paul

4:22pm Tue 22 Jan 13

Garrowby Turnoff says...

Much needed and will be an asset to York for the best part of this century. Performing arts is big business and not always in a traditional theatre setting. Mrs Turnoff and I are patrons of both the Theatre Royal and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough where various stage configurations, especially in the round, were Ayckbourn's forte.

Provision for projected images should be accommodated as well as other electronic computer gadgetry that will be utilised on stages worldwide in the next ten decades.
Much needed and will be an asset to York for the best part of this century. Performing arts is big business and not always in a traditional theatre setting. Mrs Turnoff and I are patrons of both the Theatre Royal and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough where various stage configurations, especially in the round, were Ayckbourn's forte. Provision for projected images should be accommodated as well as other electronic computer gadgetry that will be utilised on stages worldwide in the next ten decades. Garrowby Turnoff

4:48pm Tue 22 Jan 13

RingoStarr says...

City of York Council. Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “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.”

er...yeah.
City of York Council. Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “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.” er...yeah. RingoStarr

6:34pm Tue 22 Jan 13

the butler says...

Does this include refurbishing the actors accomodations behind the stage?
Does this include refurbishing the actors accomodations behind the stage? the butler

8:47pm Tue 22 Jan 13

aa42john says...

Well yes, it's good news. But could the money have been better spent by supporting 100 or 1000 smaller activities used by groups of York citizens - the proportion who go to the 'real' theatre is very small, after all?
Well yes, it's good news. But could the money have been better spent by supporting 100 or 1000 smaller activities used by groups of York citizens - the proportion who go to the 'real' theatre is very small, after all? aa42john

9:03am Wed 23 Jan 13

pedalling paul says...

the butler wrote:
Does this include refurbishing the actors accomodations behind the stage?
That might upset the Gray Lady.........
[quote][p][bold]the butler[/bold] wrote: Does this include refurbishing the actors accomodations behind the stage?[/p][/quote]That might upset the Gray Lady......... pedalling paul

4:09pm Wed 23 Jan 13

TCJYork says...

aa42john wrote:
Well yes, it's good news. But could the money have been better spent by supporting 100 or 1000 smaller activities used by groups of York citizens - the proportion who go to the 'real' theatre is very small, after all?
Over 30,000 people went to York Mystery Plays in the summer and something like 50,000 people go to Berwick Kaler's pantomime. That's a pretty big proportion of the citizens of York I reckon.
[quote][p][bold]aa42john[/bold] wrote: Well yes, it's good news. But could the money have been better spent by supporting 100 or 1000 smaller activities used by groups of York citizens - the proportion who go to the 'real' theatre is very small, after all?[/p][/quote]Over 30,000 people went to York Mystery Plays in the summer and something like 50,000 people go to Berwick Kaler's pantomime. That's a pretty big proportion of the citizens of York I reckon. TCJYork

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree