The 2020 Redevelopment Project aims to refurbish and refresh Coventry’s leading theatre in preparation for City of Culture 2021 and beyond.
With Coventry’s year as City of Culture creeping ever closer, the Belgrade Theatre has been putting in place plans to ensure it is a sparkling cultural gem in time for 2021.
Taking place over the next 18 months, their 2020 Redevelopment Project will be divided into three separate phases, improving facilities and visitor experience, and enabling the Theatre to better serve the communities of Coventry and beyond.
Phase one will include the refurbishment of their 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 Pub into a “creative talent hub”. Currently sitting empty, the building will be repurposed to provide extra space for rehearsing and developing work, making it an invaluable resource for youth and community groups and for emerging artists, including those supported by the Theatre’s Springboard talent development programme.
Above the space, a flat will also be available for touring actors and creatives to hire, providing the Theatre with a useful new revenue stream, meaning more money to invest back into their work.
The 2020 Redevelopment Project will cost the Theatre £4.8m, of which £3.7 million has been secured through a generous package of support from Coventry City Council, DCMS and CWLEP.
Now, the Theatre is asking local people to play their part in helping to raise the final £600,000 to hit their target through donations and a monthly lottery, where one person wins 20% of the total amount raised that month. Find out more about this on their Play Your Part page.
The Theatre is also encouraging supporters to get creative and help organise your own sponsored events and activities.
Created for the people of Coventry and Warwickshire as part of the rebuilding of the city after the Second World War, the Belgrade has a long and proud history of working closely with the communities it serves to break new ground and create change in the city and beyond. They hope that by empowering their audiences to play a part in the fundraising campaign, they can foster a sense of ownership and pride in the theatre amongst local people.
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, 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. Thank you.”
The Belgrade Theatre Trust is a registered charity, which means that all the money donated, raised or earnt is not distributed as profit, but is reinvested back into the work they do, including extensive community, education and outreach work, talent development projects, and the wide range of productions they create.