One of the UK’s oldest producing theatres, York Theatre Royal, founded in 1744, is set to reopen its doors on 22 April following a £6 million redevelopment.
The 270-year-old theatre has been transformed into a building fit for the 21st century, with every stage of the redevelopment carefully designed to harmonise with the Grade II listed building and its beautiful patchwork of architectural styles.
The first significant change to the building since Patrick Gwynne’s groundbreaking poured-concrete and glass extension was added to the Victorian theatre in 1967, the overhaul has improved access throughout the building.
The gothic colonnade – once exposed to the elements –has been enclosed by glass, while the main stage will be reconstructed in a modular form, allowing the stage to be adapted or removed entirely, offering a flexibility that is rarely seen in such an historic theatre.
Audiences will get a chance to sample the new experience as the theatre relaunches this spring with two world-premiere co-productions: Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and EM Forster’s The Machine Stops.
To celebrate the redevelopment, the spring season will be accompanied a programme of events and activities to bring audiences even closer to the theatre. 270/360 offers a 360-degree view of activities including talks, discussions, open rehearsals and meet-the-cast events. There will even be the opportunity to see productions from a completely different angle with A View from Backstage, where tickets will be available to watch from either the wings or the fly floor.
The project has been funded by Arts Council England, City of York Council and York Conservation Trust with generous grants and donations from local and national trusts and foundations, corporate and individual supporters. A further £153,000 has been raised through a public fundraising campaign.