HUDDERSFIELD’S Lawrence Batley Theatre is one of the best.
The Queen Street venue has received “outstanding” ratings from Arts Council England.
The LBT was rated outstanding in the areas of ‘Excellence and innovation of the programme’ and ‘Engagement’.
The organisation was also rated strong in the areas of ‘Audience reach’, ‘Financial sustainability’ and ‘Governance and management’.
In his annual report, Ralph Dartford, relationship manager at Arts Council England, Yorkshire, said: “The Lawrence Batley Theatre can now be considered a vital resource within its own community of Kirklees.
“The organisation is also extending its reputation elsewhere in the region and gaining an outstanding reputation for artistic excellence, both in its programming of innovative product and its ambition to increase engagement with the general public and artists.”
Much of the success has been attributed to the people involved with the LBT.
Mr Dartford added: “The main driver of this success can be attributed to the visionary management of the organisation’s director and chief executive Victoria Firth and her committed team of knowledgeable staff and volunteers.”
Victoria Firth, director of the LBT said: “Everyone at the venue has worked really hard over the last few years to make theŠLBT a theatre to be proud of.
“I’m delighted that this has been recognised by the Arts Council and grateful to all our staff, volunteers, partners and friends that helped us to get here.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to realise lots of our ambitions andŠI look forward to even more exciting developments over the years to come.”
“In these current times this inspires us to do more to ensure the arts survive and thrive for people in Huddersfield, Kirklees and beyond.”
The Lawrence Batley Theatre offers drama, music, dance and comedy.
The theatre is named after Lawrence Batley, a local entrepreneur and philanthropist, who founded a nationwide cash and carry chain.
The building was originally built in 1819 as a Methodist chapel.
The chapel became a mission in 1906 until a decline in numbers saw the mission move out of the building in 1970.
The building served for a short time as an arts centre, a squash club, a restaurant and a disco.
In 1989 the Kirklees Theatre Trust was given the go ahead to save the building from deterioration and launch Huddersfield’s newest theatre.
Building work for the theatre started in September 1992