Nottingham’s Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall has been successful in securing £1.5m from the Arts Council England for its £3.3m Royal Transformation Project. Nottingham City Council has already confirmed that they will provide the further £1.8m needed to fund the ambitious programme of building and development works designed to ensure the sustainable future of the two largest arts and entertainment venues in the East Midlands.
The Royal Transformation Project aims to increase daytime use of the venues by improving facilities and underused spaces such as meeting rooms, foyer spaces, the café bar and roof terraces. The project will also see accessibility improvements to ensure that the new facilities can be used by everyone.
The main areas of work to be undertaken over the next 18 months include:
• improving the building façade and streetscape on South Sherwood Street by creating a striking two-storey canopy and a new entrance way to both the Theatre Royal and the Royal Concert Hall;
• remodelling the Box Office and Royal Concert Hall entrance foyer to provide a better service for customers;
• modernising the Royal Concert Hall’s meeting rooms and function suites to make them more accessible and multi-functional;
• expanding the venue’s community and education programme by creating a new accessible, multi-purpose rehearsal space;
• refurbishing the Royal Concert Hall foyer bars and repositioning the foyer kiosk;
• enlarging and improving the Theatre Royal’s ground floor café bar and upper floor roof terraces to provide a better dining experience throughout the day;
• creating a new street-level outdoor seating and performance area under cover of the new canopy on South Sherwood Street;
• improving access and facilities to stage door, backstage and dressing room areas to make them accessible for all performers and staff, regardless of disability.
Work will take place in two phases. Phase 1 during summer and autumn 2016 and Phase 2 during summer and autumn 2017. Both venues will remain open throughout the period of work.
Robert Sanderson, Managing Director for the venue, said: “We are so delighted in this vote of confidence from the Arts Council England and from Nottingham City Council. I would also like to thank Marsh Grochowski Architects and Focus Consultants who led the professional team, for their expertise, advice and support throughout the bid process.
“In recent years we have been very successful in improving the quality of our programme and building audiences for a wide variety of arts and entertainment events.
This project aims to add to that success by securing sustainability for the future. The Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall is already a lively, enjoyable space but we want to extend that throughout the day, from breakfast time through to midnight. We want to reach out to local businesses and community groups too, by offering them inspiring and multi-functional spaces that really do meet the needs of everyone.
Everybody should have the opportunity to use and enjoy this wonderful building, situated here right at the heart of our city.
“Building work and modifications will start to happen within the next few months so it will be very exciting to see plans transformed into reality and the venue moving forward into an exciting new future.”
Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “Through our National Lottery funded large capital grants, we invest in the buildings and equipment arts organisations need to deliver great art and culture in their communities. The Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall attracts high-quality touring productions to Nottingham for audiences to enjoy and this funding will see significant improvements made to the building.
This capital grant will help to make access to the venue better and increase the facilities available for local community arts and cultural groups. The Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall play an important role in the cultural life of Nottingham as well as making a significant contribution to the local economy.”
Cllr David Trimble, portfolio holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, said: “This very substantial grant by Arts Council England is a major boost to our plans to develop the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall and to improve its facilities and visitor numbers, particularly during the day.
The City Council is delighted to be working in partnership with Arts Council England on the Royal Transformation Project, to ensure that the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall continue to be one of Nottingham’s major cultural assets and a very successful cultural enterprise, not just attracting audiences from across the region to sit back and enjoy the show, but also providing more opportunities for a wide range of Nottingham citizens to participate, learn, and be creative themselves.”