Funding boost for city theatre

The Rep awarded £1.47 million GBSLEP funding to transform public space.

One of Birmingham’s iconic cultural landmarks the Birmingham Repertory Theatre has received a £1.47 million funding award from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership to transform and revitalise its public space.

Commencing in July, the ‘Open House’ project coincides with the theatre’s celebration of fifty years on Centenary Square and will help The Rep to secure its future.

The works are estimated to complete early in the New Year in time for the city’s cultural programme which is running in parallel with the Commonwealth Games and harnessing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put Birmingham and the West Midlands on the global sporting and cultural stage.

The GBSLEP’s funding from its Growing Places Fund will enable The Rep to create welcoming new public spaces, with enhanced café and restaurant facilities. As a result of ‘Open House’ The Rep will be able to generate additional revenue, which will be reinvested in making world-class theatre, delivering impactful education and community programmes and nurturing the next generation of artists and theatre-makers.

Anita Bhalla, GBSLEP Board Director for creative industries said, “Across the region and the city, you can really feel the excitement for the Commonwealth Games next year. Matching the sporting spectacle will be a six-month long arts festival that will bring together our brilliant artists, creatives, businesses, and communities.

“Cultural venues like The Rep will be at the heart of it all and that’s why it is so encouraging that we can, through our Growing Places Fund, support them in their vision for making their venue more inviting and accessible for their visitors, as well as greater space for performances and events. Roll on 2022!”

The funding will help The Rep improve access to the revamped Centenary Square and open the building up to visitors as well as theatergoers. The proposals will improve accessibility, provide outdoor seating, create a greater hospitality offer and transform the public areas. The remodelling of the public areas will also allow for more informal performances as well as private events.

The Rep’s Executive Director, Rachael Thomas comments, “The GBSLEP’s funding will help us attract new audiences and income streams, allowing us to move towards a more sustainable and resilient future and play our part at such an important moment for the city and region.”

In partnership with its local government, business, and education leaders, the GBSLEP has supported the creative and cultural sector to drive inclusive economic growth across the region. The Rep’s ‘Open House’ is one of many projects that the GBSLEP has funded in the last ten years. Other projects include the Birmingham Symphony Hall refurbishment, Birmingham’s Dance Hub and the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.