Theatr Clwyd Announce World Class Team To Lead Major Building Redevelopment
Theatr Clwyd announce today a world renowned team of industry specialists to lead a major redevelopment of the Flintshire arts hub, one of Wales' major cultural assets and an award-winning centre of excellence. Since it opened 40 years ago it has had little investment in its structure and fabric and now requires urgent redevelopment to safeguard the unique benefits this cultural jewel provides for future generations.
The building redevelopment, which is in the early part of the design and development stage, ahead of further funding decisions, is currently supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Flintshire County Council.
Liam Evans-Ford, Theatr Clwyd's Executive Director, said:
"We are at a critical point in Theatr Clwyd's history. Our building, a vital resource for Wales, is in need of redevelopment if we are to continue the acclaimed high-quality work both with our communities, on our stages and in our galleries and cinema.
"We are delighted to have attracted a world-class team to guide us through this capital project. Haworth Tompkins are without doubt the foremost theatre architects of our age. Their imagination about what a building can be, and how it can support and facilitate the ever-changing needs of artists and the communities who populate these spaces, will enable us to create a warm and welcoming home that can underpin the core of our business - creativity and community. Supported by the team at Kier, who have direct and recent experience of delivering major theatre projects, and Jack Tilbury who has led iconic cultural redevelopment, with technical expertise provided by Charcoalblue, we have a team that offers us the very best chance of securing the theatre's future for the next 40 years."
The scheme will aim to provide:
- Essential revenue saving and operating efficiencies
- Improved access for the community
- Dedicated spaces for young people and their education, and facilities for training in transferable theatre-making skills
- Purpose-built Health and Well-being spaces
- Revitalised public areas to improve visitor experience and access
- Fit-for-purpose catering facilities to drive revenue generation
- New dedicated events and meeting spaces
- New spaces for rehearsals to support world-class theatre making
- The rehousing of all making departments (Including set building, paint workshops and costume-making)
- Space for young families to spend time creatively playing and learning
- A greener, more energy efficient building
- Up to date infrastructure including electrics, air conditioning and mechanics
Theatr Clwyd's building redevelopment has already attracted the largest ever grant - of £1.012m - from the Arts Council of Wales for this stage of a project, with match funding of £330k from Flintshire County Council.
Today, Kath Davies, Director (Arts Funding Services) of the Arts Council of Wales said:
"The Arts Council of Wales' recently launched Corporate Plan puts an even greater emphasis than before on diversity and equality of opportunity. The Arts Council is glad therefore to be able to support Theatr Clwyd, through this National Lottery derived grant, to undertake work to improve access and boost its provision to the public."
Haworth Tompkins, winners of the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize and one of Europe's top architectural studios with expertise in inventive theatre design, will design the building redevelopment. Founding director Steve Tompkins, representing the Haworth Tompkins performance team, recently topped The Stage 100 for 2019, the annual list of the entertainment industry's most influential voices. They are the architects behind many multi-award winning theatre redevelopments, including Battersea Arts Centre (recent winner of the 2019 Stage award for Theatre Building of the Year), the National Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Young Vic and Bristol Old Vic. Cited as "literally and physically transforming British Theatre" through their buildings, Haworth Tompkins won the Stirling Prize, British architecture's highest award, for designing the Liverpool Everyman from inception.
Steve Tompkins commented:
"The whole design team is excited to be setting out on this important project alongside Theatr Clwyd's brilliant leaders, a committed council and an expert builder. Everyone involved understands what a crucial part a theatre like this has to play the life of the community and in the wider cultural landscape, so it is both a privilege and a big responsibility for us to be part of rejuvenating the building to support Tamara and Liam's vision for a welcoming, democratic and creatively inspiring public space."
Kier Group plc, a leading infrastructure services, buildings, developments and housing group, has been appointed to work on the redevelopment of the theatre. The company has been promoting and delivering innovation in Wales for over 50 years. Recent projects include total development of the Carmarthen Campus for the University of Wales, to include a new headquarters for S4C and a new media faculty. This latest win for Kier further builds on its extensive cultural expertise with projects including the multi award-winning Storyhouse in Chester and Aberdeen Music Hall.
Peter Commins, managing director at Kier Construction North West commented:
"We are absolutely delighted to be working with Theatr Clwyd for this exciting project. Our team has a proven track record in delivering top class theatre projects, with collaboration, innovation and social value being fundamental ingredients to achieving the most successful outcome for all project stakeholders."
Theatre and acoustic design consultancy Charcoalblue will provide auditorium, seating and technical expertise for the building's various performance and public spaces. The global practice has an international reputation in the industry and counts the RSC, Bristol Old Vic, National Theatre, Royal Opera House and Chester's Storyhouse among its clients. It is currently working on designs for the new performing arts centre at The World Trade Center in New York and more locally on the Wyeside Arts Centre in Builth Wells.
Emma Chapman, Consultant at Charcoalblue commented:
"This project is testament to the ambition of Theatr Clwyd and theatre across Wales. It will further reinforce Theatr Clwyd's reputation of as an international force in storytelling. We're simply delighted to be working with such a dedicated and inventive client team, a passionate community and inspirational project team which make this exciting redevelopment a success."
Jack Tilbury, Director of Plann Limited is Project Director for the Capital Redevelopment. The only specialist multi-disciplinary consultancy of its kind in the UK, the company was set up to offer a wide range of professional services to cultural capital building projects. It is a specialist in understanding the unique requirements of public sector and performance venues. With clients ranging from theatres to national governments, it has led on major works for clients including the National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, The Bush and the Bridge Theatre.
Under the leadership of Tamara Harvey, Artistic Director and Liam Evans-Ford, Executive Director the reputation of Theatr Clwyd has soared, with its productions receiving multiple UK awards. In the past year alone The Assassination of Katie Hopkins won Best Musical the UK Theatre Awards and Home I'm Darling by Laura Wade, directed by Tamara Harvey and starring Katherine Parkinson and Richard Harrington, was the theatre's first co-production with the National Theatre on London's South Bank, sold-out at both venues and is now playing in the West End, in co-production with Fiery Angel. It was listed in the top three regional theatres in the UK during 2018.
The work on its stages is seen by over 180,000 people a year at its home in Flintshire and, as a gateway to north Wales, it is a major driver for tourism in the region. Shows which are 'Made in Flintshire' are also exported, with over 400,000 people buying tickets to a Theatr Clwyd touring production at venues throughout the UK over the past 3 years.
Theatr Clwyd has increased its turnover by 20% since 2016 to over £6m per year. It is an important contributor to the local economy and consistently performs in the top three of the return on investment table, as monitored by the Arts Council of Wales. The capital project will focus on the impact of the theatre for the community and the economy, with emphasis on growth, resilience and relevance for the future.