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25th Jun, 2022

Public urged to back theatre's future plans

Malvern Editorial 18th Jun, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A £1MILLION investment in Malvern Theatres will safeguard its future for the next half a century, the chief executive has claimed.

Speaking to the Observer, Nic Lloyd said he was prompted to come up with a fresh business plan for the Grange Road venue in response to substantial funding cuts from local authorities, Central Government and the Arts Council England.

It has resulted in the Malvern Theatres Tomorrow project which was launched earlier this year and includes plans for a new restaurant, coffee shop, education space and entertainment suite.

Mr Lloyd said the theatre needed to find about £200,000 extra in annual revenue in order for it to be sustainable in the long term.

But he said the venue was already ‘punching above its weight’ in ticket sales and he was not willing to simply raise the prices.

The over-arching principle of the project is to ‘open up’ the theatre to the public which will see most of the front face – incorporating the new café – glassed so people can see right through to Priory Park from Grange Road.

The new restaurant will be installed on a mezzanine floor between the two existing glass bridges, again providing spectacular views to the park.

This will see the existing restaurant rededicated to the venue’s education programme which Mr Lloyd described as one of the theatre’s biggest growth areas.

Aside for the structural transformation, the investment includes re-seating all three auditoriums.

Technical equipment will also be upgraded and a number of energy measures will be carried out which could generate upto £50,000 in annual savings.

More than half of the money for the project has already been found and a six figure grant application has also been submitted to Arts Council England, but Mr Lloyd still stressed the need for public support.

“Malvern Theatres is a big fish in small pond which contributes £18million a year to the local economy,” he said.

“We have a big responsibility. If the theatre was to close there would be a serious knock-on effect. We needed to make sure this theatre is still here in 50 years time, I want my great-grandchildren to come here.

“This project will make this theatre completely independent and help us get away from the ever increasing battle for funding.”

He added: “We need the public of Malvern and Worcestershire to help and contribute to this. So far the response has been fantastic. It is amazing how many people want to help. But the simplest way to support us is by buying a ticket.”

Mr Lloyd said he hoped the first phase could be completed by 2015 but added the time it takes to complete the project depended on the outcome of grant applications.

Residents can log on to www.malvern-theatres.co.uk/support-us to make a donation or visit the box office.

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