Theatre grants help build for reopening
- Credit: Camden People's Theatre
A trio of shuttered theatres have been awarded government funds for building works during the pandemic.
Jacksons Lane, currently closed for major refurbishment, was handed £415,000, The Roundhouse nearly £500,000 to install new seating, and Camden People's Theatre £211,000 towards its ambitious redevelopment.
The Capital Kickstart grants are to help cultural organisations cover costs caused by Covid-related delays or fundraising shortfalls to their building works, refurbishments and equipment purchases.
All three venues can now take advantage of their enforced closure to build for the future. Roundhouse CEO Marcus Davey said fundraising for the project had been halted by the pandemic and they can now install more accessible seats, creating more capacity and better sightlines.
"It will also give us the ability to quickly change the configuration of the main auditorium which has become even more important for our financial recovery. Transforming the efficiency of that turnaround time will enable us to generate much-needed income."
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CPT has now brought forward plans to upgrade its performance space, rehearsal space and foyer - with plans to open a community cafe.
Executive director Kaya Stanley-Money, said the grant allowed them to greenlight the project at a time when social distancing rules had forced them to close: "This is an extraordinary moment for Camden People's Theatre. Faced with the prospect of having to delay our project indefinitely, or to endure a second period of closure in 2021 to undertake the work, we have worked hard with partners and funders to bring this capital work forward, ensuring we are in the best possible position to re-open in spring 2021. We can't wait to get on-site and realise the full potential of our brilliant theatre as a more accessible, inclusive and inspirational space – for artists, audiences and our Camden community.”
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CPT and architects De Matos Ryan have engaged with the local community, audiences and artists for the design, which will create an improved on-street presence at 58-60 Hampstead Road.
Better access including automatic doors, refurbished accessible bathrooms and a lift, a more comfortable bar and foyer space, improved facilities for artists, and acoustic separation from the street and bar can happen thanks to additional grants from Arts Council England, The Foyle Foundation, Camden Council, Viridor Credits and the Cockayne Foundation.
Throughout the pandemic they have continued with youth outreach and a partnership with a local food charity, as well as supporting early-career artists with a major new commissions. The works will take place from December to March, welcoming audiences back with a spring season including their annual feminism and Sprint Festivals.
“CPT have been producing experimental, community minded and radical theatre from this base for the past 25 years building an enviable reputation of engaging with their neighbours through locally oriented work. We are overjoyed to hear they will realise their vision for their building during this time of great uncertainty.” said Camden Councillor Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture.