West Yorkshire Playhouse is to undergo a massive multi-million pound revamp which should be completed by 2019.
Arts Council England will give £6.6m towards the landmark redevelopment which has been granted planning permission.
The £14m project, led by Leeds City Council, will be funded by £4.4m from the City Council and £3m from the Playhouse’s own resources – including ongoing fundraising – alongside the Arts Council England contribution.
The building will be fully modernised, including a new studio theatre space, significantly improved access across the theatre and a brand new entrance facing the city.
A flexible and intimate new third auditorium will be built into a rock void that currently sits underneath the theatre’s box office and will support the Playhouse’s commitment to developing new artists and its community engagement work. It is part funded by a charity called the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation and will be called The Bramall Rock Void.
Construction work for the whole redevelopment will begin this summer, continuing through to Autumn 2019. The theatre will remain open during the redevelopment works, presenting a season of work in a new pop-up theatre on-site. The 350-seat theatre will be transformed from a workshop space.
West Yorkshire Playhouse executive director Robin Hawkes said: “This is the culmination of nearly five years of hard work by so many people both at the Playhouse and at the council and means we can go into the New Year planning positively for a new era for our theatre.”
West Yorkshire Playhouse artistic director James Brining said: “The Playhouse is used and loved by hundreds of thousands of people every year. The opportunity to make the theatre even more accessible, welcoming and fit for purpose for the 21st Century is one we relish. We take the responsibility of refashioning the Playhouse extremely seriously and look forward to many more years of fantastic theatre here in Leeds when we open the doors of the new Playhouse in 2019.”