Malvern Theatre's extension reopens today after £2.25million revamp - The Malvern Observer

Malvern Theatre's extension reopens today after £2.25million revamp

Malvern Editorial 15th Jul, 2023   0

THE EXCITING new £2.25million extension at Malvern Theatres officially opens today (Saturday, July 15).

There will be an open event from 10.30am to 3pm for visitors to take tours, enjoy arts and crafts sessions, and learn about the workshops and classes on offer.

Designed by Worcester based Glazzard Architects with Malvern Theatres, the construction was carried out by local contractors Speller Metcalfe.

The new first floor cantilevered glazed extension creates a fully accessible performance space whilst the new entrance is enhanced with an improved, landscaped public space.

The new performance space is equipped to a high standard allowing the theatre to further deliver a wide range of productions, as well as giving more a flexible space for educational and community use.

The addition will enable the theatre to increase its number of workshop places from around 2,500 to 14,500 per year, with regular weekly classes in dance, movement, drama, music, acting and film-making all part of the initial programme starting from September.




Disabled access to the theatre from the Grange Road entrance has also been improved.


Funding the extension project

The extension project is funded jointly by Malvern Hills District Council and Malvern Theatres Trust with donations and fund-raising they secured. Malvern Theatre’s Trust successfully operates the theatre on a long-term lease from the council.

As part of the new development, a new Changing Places facility has been built in the theatre.

Changing Places toilets are larger, accessible toilets for people with disabilities. The new facility at Malvern Theatres includes a changing bed, shower, hoist, adjustable sink and compliant toilet.

The accessible facility was part-funded by the Changing Places Grant from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and supported by Muscular Dystrophy UK.

The project was tendered and managed by Malvern Hills District Council, and the authority also obtained a £20,000 Changing Place grant and funded the remainder.

Tours of the venue

Malvern Theatres will be hosting an event between 10am and 2pm on Wednesday, July 19, at the venue which will involve toilet tours, a relaxed family film screening of The Big Knights, and free, family friendly fun to suit all ages and abilities.

There will be a drop-in craft activity, interactive activities, fun and games, a sensory area and the chance for people to make their own selfie sunglasses.

To help celebrate Changing Places Awareness Day, a Play/Create Workshop will also be on offer, the vibrant workshop will be facilitated by Richard Hayhow, Director of Open Theatre Company, and Bridget Lloyd, Head of Creative Learning at Malvern Theatres. The workshop is free of charge with limited places available and requires pre-booking.

‘Exciting times……’

Coun John Gallagher, Malvern Hills District Council’s portfolio holder for resources, said: “We are so excited for the new extension to be revealed and for the public to enjoy what the facility has to offer.

“It is wonderful attraction in our district, and it will make a huge difference to the community.

“The launch event is a good opportunity to promote the new Changing Places toilet, which is a great addition to the venue and really helps to open it up to all those with wide-ranging special needs and disabilities, making it accessible to all.”

Nic Lloyd, Malvern Theatres’ chief executive,, said: “The completion of Studio One promises huge benefits to the people of the Malvern Hills area and beyond.

“The new studio comprises a rehearsal space, performance space and cinema as well as a venue for our full programme of regular classes and workshops.

“I’m grateful to Malvern Hills District Council and the Arts Council of England for so generously investing in this important project, which has the potential to provide life-changing participation opportunities for people of all ages and abilities in our community.”

A word from the builder and architect

Matthew Bailey, Speller Metcalfe’s divisional director, said: “As a Malvern-based contractor, we’re delighted to hand over the completed development to Malvern Theatres who are already making full use of the new space and have some fantastic plans in place for the future – all of which will be enjoyed by the local community – including many of our own staff.

“It has been a fantastic scheme to work on and we’re so pleased to have been a part of bringing such a local landmark into its next era.”

Claire Thomas, project architect at Glazzard Architects said: “We are delighted to work alongside Malvern Theatres to create this fully accessible and contemporary rehearsal space whilst improving the theatres connectivity and presence within Grange Road.

“We are certain this new space will expand the theatre’s community engagement.”

People can email [email protected] for more information about the Changing Places event, or to book the Play/Create Workshop.

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