COVENTRY’s Belgrade Theatre has called on the public’s help to raise £600,000 to complete its bold redevelopment plans.
At the end of March, Coventry City Council gave the go-ahead to the theatre’s three-phase plan to renovate in time for UK City of Culture 2021 – amid ‘increasing financial pressure’.
Theatre bosses say the project will begin in the next 18 months but that hinges on first attracting about £552,000 in donations from the public.
The cultural venue needs the money to reach its £4.8million target which would see its first major enhancement in its 60-year history.
The public has already helped the theatre raise £48,000 in the appeal.
It has already secured funding from the council and the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, among others, but will rely on donations to reach its funding target.
Phase one will see the much-needed refurbishment of its foyers and main stage auditorium, part of the Grade II listed, original 1958 building which last year celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Phase two will be the linking up of the ground floor café and first-floor Burbidge Room to create a flexible, combined space for eating, drinking and socialising.
The third and final phase of the project will be the transformation of the nearby Jaguar building into a multi-functional ‘creative talent hub’.
Currently sitting empty, the former public house will be repurposed to provide extra space for rehearsing and developing work.
It will be used for the theatre’s various youth and community groups as well as for local emerging artists.
Above this space, two self-contained flats will also be available for hire by visiting actors and creatives, providing the Theatre with a useful new revenue stream.
Belgrade Theatre head of development Helen Hotchkiss said: “This is an incredibly exciting time to live and work in Coventry and we’re particularly proud of all the community, education and talent development work we do at the Belgrade.
“With Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture less than two years away, the 61-year-old Theatre is in need of some refurbishment in order to be a sparkling gem for 2021 and beyond.
“Our redevelopment project will offer audiences a more enjoyable experience and provide more flexible and innovative spaces for the communities we serve.
“However, as a registered charity (number 219163), we’re reliant on the kind support of audiences, members, funders, corporate partners and donors, so this year, we’re calling on everyone to play their part and support our 2020 redevelopment project.”
To help the theatre with a donation – whether you are an individual or a business – go to: www.belgrade.co.uk/support-us/2020-redevelopment-project/