A HISTORIC Coventry theatre has opened a new studio to the delight of celebrated performers and city officials.
The Albany Theatre on Butts Road officially opened its east wing with the construction of its brand-new performance space which will also act as its new entrance.
Coventry music legends Neville and Christine Staple, patrons to the theatre, were on hand to cut the ribbon at the launch on March 1.
The opening event was also attended by Coventry Lord Mayor, councillor Tony Skipper who introduced local performers from across the city including the Firebirds Singers choir, the Turley Duggan Academy of Irish Dance and Streetmix.
The famous building – formerly part of Coventry Technical College – has been revamped since last summer when it secured 50 more years at the heart of the Coventry art’s scene.
The theatre claims the new studio space is part of a long-term commitment to Coventry communities and their Arts for Life initiative.
The project aims to host accessible and diverse work for both local groups and professional companies.
The studio is the first phase of The Albany’s development of the iconic building’s east wing.
It will have a flexible “pop-up” studio space, bar, box office and working environment, whilst further developments and expansion are undertaken.
The final phase of development will see the existing rear of the theatre remodelled and the auditorium renovated in time for Coventry City of Culture 2021.
The former Specials front man, Neville Staple, said: “I am so glad to hear that The Albany Studio is now ready for action, to become a beautiful place for art and music in our great city.
“Having places like this are so important and help stop areas becoming a ‘ghost town.’
“On a serious level, I am extremely pleased to become a patron of this great theatre, along with my wife Christine.
“We are always happy to help with local projects, especially those targeted at everyone, especially local families.”
The new studio space is part of The Albany’s redevelopment and has the support of many Coventry performers including Inbetweeners and The Musketeers star, Tamla Kari.
She said: “I first performed on The Albany theatre stage, back then known as the Butts Theatre, at the age of four dressed as Mickey Mouse.
“I often visit to see friends still performing there and I’m filled with such nostalgia.
“I’m so proud to be a Coventry kid and I’m excited to see what this new space brings.”
The Studio is hosting its first season of shows including acclaimed Ceridwen Theatre’s interpretation of Macbeth and Coventry actor, director and writer Paul Nolan’s The Window; a personal story based on the life and times of his Spon End relatives’ involvement at Passchendaele.