Westgate is about to get a brand new addition as construction gets underway on Theatre Royal Wakefield’s ambitious new Centre for Creativity.

Bradford-based contractors Bermar Building will be leading the construction of the new Centre, designed by Ilkley architects Halliday Clark. The construction process includes the replacement of the long-standing hoarding on Westgate with an 8 metre high glass frontage, and the transformation of the derelict land adjacent to the theatre into a spacious new cafe-bar and flexible studio theatre.

Construction is scheduled to be completed during 2017, in order for the Centre to fully open in spring 2018. The new Centre will enhance the audience experience of the Theatre, it will enable our programming to broaden and will contribute to the Theatre’s long-term financial sustainability.

The spectacular frontage will include corten steel cladding, providing a hard-wearing exterior which rusts to provide a modern distinctive look, but with a colour in keeping with the red brick of other Westgate buildings.

The entrance to the Centre for Creativity will be fully accessible to wheelchairs and those with mobility issues. The studio theatre and toilets will be accessible via a ramp and the Centre will include five new accessible toilets as well as purpose-built gender neutral baby changing facilities.

The cafe-bar will greatly enhance the Theatre’s current offer for pre and post-show refreshments, as well as offering a space for daytime community use, corporate and private event hire. The bar itself will double up as a quick and easy new box office, enabling customers to book their tickets at the same time as ordering a coffee.

The new studio space will enable the Theatre to programme a wider range of work, from new drama and stand-up comedy to intimate family shows and music performances. The space will seat up to 100, with the flexible seating able to adapt to include in-the-round set-ups. The studio will also become a space for the Theatre’s outreach work with communities and young people, enabling us to increase both the amount of outreach work and the impact of this work. Finally, the studio will accommodate rehearsals for Theatre Royal Wakefield’s in-house and touring productions.

With enough funds having been raised for the construction of the Centre for Creativity, the Theatre is now seeking support for a high performance fit out of the new building and has launched the Buy a Star campaign, encouraging individual purchases of gold stars for the Centre’s Wall of Fame. The aim is to ensure the inclusion of quality sound and theatre lighting together with a retractable acoustic screen between the studio theatre and the cafe-bar space. This would provide greater flexibility for the use of the combined spaces, both for events and for informal performances such as music and comedy, increasing the enjoyment of audiences when they visit the new Centre for Creativity.

Executive Director of Theatre Royal Wakefield, Katie Town said:

‘It is a great achievement for all at the Theatre to have raised sufficient funds to commence building. Construction is, however, just the start of our future commitment to Wakefield with the new Centre for Creativity. The real impact will be when we open the new Centre, giving new access to the arts for the local community and building audiences and participants.’

Executive Director of Bermar Building, Rob Moon said:

We are really pleased to be working with Theatre Royal Wakefield on this exciting project.The completed scheme will have a huge impact on both the operation of the Theatre and the appearance of the local area.Bermar Building is a family run West Yorkshire construction firm with 45 years experience in this type of work.’

Box Office: 01924 211 311

Minicom (text-type users): 01924 215 522

Theatre Royal Wakefield, Drury Lane, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 2TE

Wakefield Theatre Royal and Opera House was designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1894.