First Look At Unity Theatre Transformation

THE Unity Theatre has released the first images of its ongoing redevelopment. The theatre has worked with Liverpool based architects, K2, and contractors and social enterprise Vivark, to deliver the ambitious £845,000 Build Unity Better redevelopment project, which will transform the front of house spaces, and enable the theatre to be more environmentally and financially sustainable. The visualisations show major changes to the entrance and façade of the theatre and former synagogue, and reveal how the first floor will be opened up and reconfigured. The building, which was previously only accessible via a ramp that led to a side entrance, will now have a new ‘front door’, opening straight onto the street. Chief Executive and Artistic Director Matthew Linley said, “This new front door is not just a front door. It’s a really visible symbol of what we want to achieve with Build Unity Better. We want to be able to welcome more audiences and more artists. This significant change will help us say ‘We’re a public building – this is your space’. “The new Unity helps us to put our money where are mouth is when we say ‘we are open to all”. The images also show the first floor front-of-house space, which will be opened up and reconfigured to become a bigger and more flexible asset.  This new enlarged bar area will become a space in which the theatre can programme events, but also offer as a venue for artists, organisations and individuals to use or hire for their own activities. Improved soundproofing between Unity Theatre’s two performance spaces will allow both venues to be used together more often and, as a result, create more opportunities for work and artist development, as well as increasing revenue. The redevelopment will also see a reconfiguration of the ground floor front-of-house space. Matthew continues, “It’s all about creating a more welcoming, more open and less confusing public area, a public area that our audiences will want to come into day and night.  The project will enable us to host more day time and evening activity and to encourage more people to use the building, more often.” Unity Theatre are continuing their fundraising drive to raise a final £50,000 required for fit-out, and are soon to launch crowd funding campaigns promising a series of rewards for donors, including ‘unique money-can’t buy experiences’. Funders PH Holt Foundation and Garfield Western Foundation have committed £10,000 and £50,000 respectively to the major capital development work, with social enterprise First Ark Group also adding to the project funding. The funding follows an initial £435,000 investment from Arts Council England, £120,000 from Liverpool City Council, £30,000 from the Granada Foundation and £2000 from the Ravensdale Foundation as well as over £20,000 in individual donations from Unity Theatre supporters. To find out more about the #BuildUnityBetter project and fundraising drive, go to: www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/future-plans-2.html