Arts Council England has announced that Unity Theatre has been successful in its application for Small Scale Capital Redevelopment funding for the Hope Place venue.
Unity will be awarded the full amount originally applied for of £435,000 towards the £750,000 project, which will turn the theatre and former synagogue into a sustainable 21st Century venue.
The redevelopment is driven by the needs of Unity’s artists and audiences and is the first major work to be carried out since the previous redevelopment in 1998. It will open out the foyer and bar spaces, making much more effective use of the facilities and building.
Improved soundproofing between the two performance spaces will allow both venues to be used together more often and, as a result, create more opportunities for work and artist development, as well as increasing revenue. The redevelopment will also ensure that Unity Theatre has a strong digital profile and is an environmentally sustainable venue.
Artistic Director and CEO, Matthew Linley, said:
“I joined the Unity almost a year ago to the day, and ever since that first day it’s been really clear to me the very special role Unity plays here in Liverpool, the region and indeed beyond. This generous award from Arts Council England gives us the opportunity to ensure we are a theatre for the 21st Century; It’s about making Unity strong and resilient, enabling us to be – for our artists and audiences – a place to dream.”
Unity Theatre having been working closely with Liverpool architects, K2, on the redevelopment which will see the theatre close on 25th June 2016 and reopen on 26th September 2016.
In addition to the generous investment from Arts Council, contributions from Liverpool City Council (amount TBC) and Unity’s own reserves, the remaining fundraising target is £125,000. Unity aims to raise £75,000 through trust and foundation applications and the remaining £50,000 through individual giving.
Executive Director, Sue Williams, said:
“We have twelve months to raise the further £50,000 needed to carry out all our vital work. In this time if every visitor donated just £1, this could be achieved.”
Chairman of Unity Theatre’s Board, Chris Bliss said:
“We’re thrilled that Arts Council England have chosen to support the theatre’s redevelopment. It’s a real vote of confidence in the work the Unity is doing – and once complete – the project will enable the theatre to play an even bigger, more ambitious role in Liverpool, the region and beyond.”
Alison Clark, Director North, Arts Council England said:
“I am delighted that Unity Theatre has been awarded funding towards the improvements to its Hope Place venue which will make it more open and attractive to visitors and artists alike – allowing the theatre to build on its reputation as an important part of the creative infrastructure in Liverpool.”