The City Council is shortly to consider proposals for the future development of the Albany Theatre in the former City College in the Butts.
Plans being considered will facilitate improvements at the Theatre that include building three new studio spaces and improvements to the front of house and café.
The Council is considering awarding a grant of £2.908m as part of a long-term plan by the Albany Theatre Trust to deliver “Arts for Life”.
The Albany Theatre is identified as a significant cultural asset for Coventry, and in recent years attendances have been increasing alongside its outreach and training programmes.
A council statement says “The investment in the Theatre will enable it to be fit-for-the-future. It will provide new opportunities to increase its impact and contribute to the legacy of Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture. At the same time, it will strengthen the operating Albany Theatre Trust, which aims to double its turnover and become a more sustainable business.”
The Albany Theatre Trust is an independent company limited by guarantee, with charitable status. It is responsible for the operation of the Albany Theatre.
The theatre has successfully attracted emergency funding from the Arts Council England as well as from private benefactors and in 2020 the Trust appointed a new Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Kevin Shaw, who has led the development of an ambitious new business plan to deliver the Trust’s Mission – to promote wellbeing through Arts for Life.
The proposed capital project includes:
• Redevelopment of the existing studio theatre which will be acoustically isolated, enabling it to be used more readily when other areas of the building are active.
• Addition of three new flexible spaces for community performances, and to be rented out for education and outreach activities.
• Addition of a new café and improvements to the front-of-house areas providing increased opportunity for secondary income.
The capital project programme can begin as soon as funding is agreed, and conditions are met. Work is expected to begin on site before the end of the year and all be completed in time for the Albany’s winter programme in 2022.