A £25.5million transformation of Warwick Arts Centre has been completed and a 100-day countdown to its new season is under way.
The venue temporarily closed its doors in 2017 for the biggest revamp in its 47-year history which was finished despite the pandemic.
The new-look building was designed by Ellis Williams Architects, with Bond Bryan as delivery architect, and the project was managed by Turner and Townsend.
Willmott Dixon carried out the work and the complex has now been officially handed back to the University of Warwick to prepare for a fantastic new season starting in October during Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture,
The result is an exciting, modern and accessible new space which combines refurbished and upgraded pre-existing spaces with new areas.
These include a spacious and more welcoming foyer, three new cinemas (complete with high-end digital projection and sound), a repositioned Mead Gallery, and a new restaurant.
Further details on the transformation will be revealed over the coming months. The project confirms Warwick Arts Centre as the region’s leading cultural centre, a place for unforgettable arts and entertainment experiences.
The centre’s director Doreen Foster said: “This is a fantastic time for Warwick Arts Centre as we are now one step closer to welcoming visitors back to their arts centre.
“We cannot wait for our audiences to enjoy the experience and make new memories as they engage with the exceptional range of arts and culture that has always been our hallmark, including in our new spaces – such as our new three screen cinema, restaurant and the reimagined Mead Gallery.
“With people throughout the UK and Europe set to visit our city to mark Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, 2021 is set to be for exciting time for arts and culture in our region – and I’m delighted that we will be part of its success.
“I like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved with the redevelopment of Warwick Arts Centre for making this possible and ensuring that audiences and visitors will be able to join us for decades to come.
“We’re back, bigger and better than ever, and our doors will be open wider than ever before.”
The University of Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Stuart Croft, said: “Sat right at the heart of our main campus, Warwick Arts Centre has been an integral part of the cultural life of our university and region for almost five decades.
“As we celebrate Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, it is wonderful that Warwick Arts Centre will soon be open again for audiences and visitors to come and enjoy all that is has to offer.”
Although Warwick Arts Centre will not officially open until October 1, 2021, the venue is hosting a number of activities this summer.
This includes Coventry artist Edie Jo Murray’s Folklorica, a free augmented reality trail around the University campus, starting at the venue’s entrance (available now, until May 2022, as part of UK City Of Culture).
Additionally there will be two summer community projects: Playing Out with the community of Canley, in Coventry, and Curious Objects of Women’s Independence, a visual arts project that explores stories of gaining independence with women from Coventry. This project is led by leading artist, Dawinder Bansal.
Warwick Arts Centre is one of the largest multi-artform venues in the UK, delivering a high quality, engaging, diverse programme of performing and visual arts, presented in world-class venues and spaces at the heart of the University of Warwick campus.
Since opening in 1974, the venue has been a distinctive and special place, an important resource for the arts and for audiences in the region and a significant force in national and international arts networks.
Visit www.warwickartscentre.co.uk for more.