Building Work Begins on Theatre Royal Wakefield’s New Centre for Creativity

Westgate is about to get a brand new addition as construction gets underway on Theatre Royal Wakefield’s ambitious new Centre for Creativity.

Bradford-based contractors Bermar Building are leading the construction of the new Centre, designed by Ilkley architects Halliday Clark. The construction process includes creating an 8 metre high glass frontage on Westgate and the transformation of the derelict land adjacent to the theatre into a spacious new cafe-bar and flexible studio theatre. The spectacular frontage will include corten steel cladding, providing a hard-wearing exterior which rusts to provide a modern distinctive look, but with a colour in keeping with the red brick of other Westgate buildings.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by spring 2018. The new Centre will enhance the audience experience of the Theatre, enable our programming to broaden and will contribute to the Theatre’s long-term financial sustainability.

The entrance to the Centre for Creativity will be fully accessible to wheelchairs and those with mobility issues. The studio theatre and toilets will be accessible via a ramp and the Centre will include five new accessible toilets as well as purpose-built gender neutral baby changing facilities.

The cafe-bar will greatly enhance the Theatre’s current offer for pre and post-show refreshments, as well as offering a space for daytime community use, corporate and private event hire. The bar itself will double up as a quick and easy new box office, enabling customers to book their tickets at the same time as ordering a coffee.

The new studio space will enable the Theatre to programme a wider range of work, from new drama and stand-up comedy to intimate family shows and music performances. The space will seat up to 100, with the flexible seating able to adapt to include in-the-round set-ups. The studio will also become a space for the Theatre’s outreach work with communities and young people, enabling us to increase both the amount of outreach work and the impact of this work. Finally, the studio will accommodate rehearsals for Theatre Royal Wakefield’s in-house and touring productions.

With enough funds having been raised for the construction of the Centre for Creativity, the Theatre is now seeking support for a high performance fit out of the new building and has launched the Buy a Star campaign, encouraging individual purchases of gold stars for the Centre’s Wall of Fame. This includes a call for donations from local companies and organisations, where supporters’ names will feature alongside the likes of theatre makers John Godber and Jim Cartwright and stars of stage and screen like Jason Donovan. Stars are available to buy directly from the Theatre Royal Wakefield Box Office in person or over the phone, and will feature prominently in the new building. The funds raised will ensure the inclusion of quality sound and theatre lighting together with a retractable acoustic screen between the studio theatre and the cafe-bar space. This would provide greater flexibility for the use of the combined spaces, both for events and for informal performances such as music and comedy, increasing the enjoyment of audiences when they visit the new Centre for Creativity.

Executive Director of Theatre Royal Wakefield, Katie Town said:
“It is a great achievement for all at the Theatre to have raised sufficient funds to commence building. Construction is, however, just the start of our future commitment to Wakefield with the new Centre for Creativity. The real impact will be when we open the new Centre, giving new access to the arts for the local community and building audiences and participants.”

Executive Director of Bermar Building, Rob Moon said:
“We are really pleased to be working with Theatre Royal Wakefield on this exciting project. The completed scheme will have a huge impact on both the operation of the Theatre and the appearance of the local area. Bermar Building is a family run West Yorkshire construction firm with 45 years experience in this type of work.”

Creative Director and playwright John Godber adds:
“Any theatre needs the powerhouse of creativity to fuel its forward motion. With the opening of the Centre for Creativity, Theatre Royal Wakefield is inviting in the future”.

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