MIDDLESBROUGH Town Hall’s major refurbishment is to further benefit from an additional £500k grant from Arts Council England.
The cash will be used to make extra improvements to performance infrastructure throughout the iconic Grade II* listed building, including a rebuild of the main stage and new sound and lighting facilities.
Bespoke portable staging and seating will also allow the old courtroom in the Town Hall to be used as a third performance space, alongside the main hall and the Crypt.
Money will also be used to help with the renewal of bars and catering equipment.
Middlesbrough Council was one of 39 applicants to receive a share of Art Council England’s £10.8m small capital grant programme to improve buildings and equipment.
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “We’ve seen applications from organisations of all sizes, from far and wide, and it’s fantastic to be able to support their ambitions through our small-scale capital programme.
“This funding provides support to get many vital projects off the ground, ensuring the successful applicants have the right facilities and equipment to support and deliver their excellent work across the country.”
Cllr Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “This grant is a welcome addition to the project, and reflects the confidence of outside bodies such as the Arts Council England, in Middlesbrough Council’s plans for the development of its Town Hall.
“This project is about maximising the potential of Middlesbrough Town Hall as both a venue and an arts centre, and the £500k from Arts Council England is a further step in ensuring the Town Hall’s status as a cultural venue of regional significance.”
Middlesbrough Council has been working with the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the project and was last year awarded £3.7m following a successful funding application.
The authority will also put £4m into the scheme which will see the Town Hall close in April following a last show pre-works by local favourites the Wildcats of Kilkenny.
The scheme will see parts of the building, currently inaccessible to the public, being opened up, including the Victorian courtroom, cells and fire station which would be made into heritage attractions in their own right.
It will also enable much wider access to visitors and provide them with a greater understanding of the history of the building, creating a unique heritage attraction.
The plans also include the restoration of the carriage driveway with original glass roof which will become the main box office and circulation area, an external lighting scheme, the development of new café and bar facilities, and a new community space.