Coventry’s Albany Theatre secures capital for redevelopment

Council funding will allow improvements to facilities and safeguard the future.

Coventry’s Albany Theatre Trust has secured its long-term future that will see exciting new creative spaces developed for the benefit of all in its community.

The Albany Theatre Trust has announced that funding for an ambitious programme of capital works has been secured through Coventry City Council. The works will guarantee the Albany’s future.

David Meredith, Chair of the Albany Theatre Trust, explained: “This is the latest crucial step towards creating a long-term sustainable future for the Albany. Far-sighted city councillors saved the former Butts Theatre over fifteen years ago when City College moved out. The Trust has acted as custodian of this much-loved community venue since 2012. In 2017, we signed a fifty-year lease not only for the main house but also for additional undeveloped space in the old college building.

“It has taken four years to prove our business plan is solid and to give the council confidence that, with the new spaces we will now develop, we can operate successfully without being a burden for Coventry’s taxpayers. I pay tribute to Councillor John Mutton because without his support and commitment we might not have received the unanimous backing of councillors”.

The council grant will fund the Phase One of an ambitious redevelopment. Specifically, it will bring improvements to the existing Studio Theatre, three new studios, a new café and improved audience and community facilities.

Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said: “I’m really pleased that councillors have given their backing for this investment in the Albany Theatre. We have already said that it is vital that we help to create sustainable models for the future, capable of delivering our ambitions as a cultural city. The Albany Theatre is an important cultural asset for the city, and I hope that in the months ahead it can expand its engagement with communities in the city.”

Kevin Shaw, CEO and Artistic Director, added: “Not only will the new developments ensure The Albany Theatre’s viability and thereby create a long-term legacy, but they will also allow us to offer a richer and more diverse programme, incubating emerging talent, and to develop the Albany as the home of learning and engagement programmes. We are creating a high-class, fully accessible arts and cultural venue to meet identified local needs.”

Professor Andy Hardy, ATT’s Vice Chair, explained the Albany’s importance: “For many, the Albany Theatre provides life changing opportunities, giving confidence and a strong sense of well-being to volunteers, audiences and participants of all ages and backgrounds. The COVID pandemic has brought home the need for human interaction and creativity. Before our enforced closure, 4-5,000 children and young people performed at the Albany every year; many thousands more enjoyed participatory events. Our focus now is to do what we can to support this young generation’s recovery from the scars of lockdown and improve the life chances of future generations.”