Philharmonic Hall refurbishment a step closer

Exterior shot of Liverpool Philharmonic Hall lit up at night

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic has been successful in its application to go forward to Stage Two of Arts Council England’s (ACE) large capital grants funding programme.

ACE has proposed investment of up to £7.5 million towards the refurbishment of the Grade II* listed Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, which sees the 75th anniversary of its opening in 2014.

The proposed investment is the largest amongst the successful Stage Two applicants announced by ACE today.

In Spring 2012, ACE awarded seed funding of £634,000 to enable Liverpool Philharmonic to appoint architects Caruso St. John to lead a design team in the first steps towards a major refurbishment of the 1939 venue, which is the home of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and one of the UK’s premier arts and entertainment venues.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic has set an ambition for the refurbishment project of up to £12 million.

Stage Two of ACE’s capital funding programme will require the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic to submit plans at a detailed stage of design and development, demonstrating that the organisation can deliver the project. These will then be assessed against ACE’s Stage Two funding criteria.

In September 2012, Liverpool City Council’s mayoral cabinet endorsed the refurbishment plans for Liverpool Philharmonic Hall by agreeing a capital contribution of £2 million that will include modernising and refreshing the current building lease on the City Council-owned building. The City’s contribution is contingent on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic successfully attracting the additional investment from ACE, and a range of other, private funding sources to meet the £12 million cost of the planned refurbishment project.

The refurbishment works will provide:

Significant improvements to front of house areas and facilities for all visitors and participants including the foyer, box office, bars and catering, toilets and lift access to all levels of the building

Rebuilding and improving the stage and choir performance areas in the auditorium

New warm-up, practice and backstage facilities for resident and visiting musicians

An exciting new performance space for a range of small-scale concerts, learning events and other activities

Increased environmental sustainability, including the ability to reduce power consumption across the building’s utilities

Subject to securing the required investment for the refurbishment, works to Liverpool Philharmonic Hall will commence in Spring 2014, with the venue undergoing a period of closure until the end of October 2014. The full programme of works will be completed during 2015, the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson said: “This is fantastic news for one of the city’s flagship cultural institutions. The City Council is pleased to be supporting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in their ambitious refurbishment programme for Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, as we recognise their key role in the cultural life and visitor economy of Liverpool.”

Lorraine Rogers, Chairman of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic said: “We are grateful to Arts Council England for this significant expression of their confidence in us. We are ambitious to continue to grow the success, reputation, and wide impact of our artistic and learning programmes and the refurbishment works will help us to fulfil this. As we plan the celebrations to mark our two forthcoming anniversaries, we will ensure that we enhance, protect and cherish Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, one of the great buildings in Liverpool, for future generations.”

Jane Beardsworth, Arts Council England’s Regional Director said: “The Arts Council’s mission is ‘Achieving great art for everyone’. The refurbishment of the iconic Grade II* listed Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and reconfiguration and remodelling of the extension building will considerably improve the experience for artists and audiences alike.”

Adam Caruso Caruso St. John said: “We are delighted to continue working with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic to develop detailed designs for the refurbishment of their home. Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is a wonderful example of Art Deco architecture, and our vision is to make it an even more enjoyable place to visit, and one that reflects the excellence of the musicians and artists who perform there.”