PREPARATORY work is under way towards a multi-million pound transformation of Warwick Arts Centre.
The 20:20 project at the University of Warwick in Coventry will be launched in October, and is set to improve and update the Arts Centre building, parts of which date back to 1974.
And theatre fans can still get their fix as construction has begun on the centre’s temporary theatre – The Goose Nest.
The new 280-seater auditorium will be open for nine months on the university site, while the centre is renovated.
The Goose Nest will open on October 7 during the Bite Size Festival – a celebration of the Midlands’ theatre-making.
It will be a hub for both professional and student performances, and will host comedians Danny Bhoy and Phill Jupitus, as well as theatre and dance productions including Rita, Sue and Bob Too and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Operations director Andrea Pulford said: “We hope artists, audiences and the student community will all enjoy The Goose Nest over the next few months and, like us, see the temporary theatre and the redevelopment as another step in an exciting journey for Warwick Arts Centre.”
The arts centre is a creative hub at the heart of the university, and hosts a range of activities and performances from festivals, workshops and comedians to dance shows, productions and musical theatre.
As well as a general upgrade, improvements include a new build to house three HD digital auditoria, a large ground-floor gallery to exhibit contemporary art, sculpture and photography, open spaces for eating and drinking and a spacious new-look foyer.
The three-year development will be completed in two stages, with maintenance to the oldest part taking a year and the new-build taking two years.
The project – being part funded by Warwick University – is expected to cost over £30million with a potential grant from Arts Council England and donations trickling in from fundraising campaigns and supportive theatre-goers.
Director Alan Rivett said: “For over 40 years we have continually evolved and adaptem ensuring that we have always been at the forefront of presenting the very best in arts and entertainment.
“Our commitment to our diverse audiences within Coventry, Warwickshire and further afield has always been at the heart of everything we do. The next three years will see exciting changes and by autumn 2020 we will be a much bigger and better Warwick Arts Centre.”
While some venues will be temporarily closed over the three-year period, the concert space Butterworth Hall, and the Helen Martin Studio will be open throughout.