Coventry's Albany Theatre turns ten - The Coventry Observer

Coventry's Albany Theatre turns ten

Coventry Editorial 13th Feb, 2023   0

STAFF and volunteers at Albany Theatre have been looking back at the venue’s extraordinary story as they mark ten years since it reopened.

Having originally closed in 2008, the theatre was reopened in February 2013 and has undergone major improvements.

The past decade has seen the launch of a Youth Theatre as well as the growth of creative outreach in city schools and the community.

They have also created Albany Productions, an in-house production company which has seen successes such as an adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

Over 20 interns and apprentices have launched careers in the arts.

And the theatre’s anniversary year might get even better as it has been nominated in the Resilience and Innovation category at the West Midlands Tourism awards.

Work is under way on the redevelopment of the Albany Theatre totalling nearly £3million.

The redevelopment incorporates additional ground-floor sections of the former college building and the courtyard, and other upgrades include a new studio theatre, two further studios, a café and larger foyer area and a volunteer room.

In the late 2000s, the City College faced financial pressures, and due to the campaign to save the 1930s auditorium, led by Alan Biddle and Coventry Musical Theatre Consortium, the City Council insisted on a “Section 106” planning condition.

This condition aimed to ensure the theatre would be saved for the community when the college building was sold to developers, but in 2008 the theatre closed its doors.

The Section 106 planning condition required the site’s owners to establish “the Butts Theatre Trust”, which would operate the re-opened Theatre, and from June 2012 a small group of volunteers conducted many repairs and developments to ensure it reopened.

Chief Executive and Artistic Director Kevin Shaw said: “I am delighted to be celebrating this landmark in the Albany Theatre’s history.

“The current team are grateful to so many local people who gave their time and effort to get us to this point.”

Chair David Meredith added: “Against all the odds, with such incredible dedication and determination from staff and many volunteers, we have overcome the many challenges put in front of us.

“With our new, exciting developments coming later this year, a truly sustainable future is in sight.”

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