Theatr Clwyd have released architect Haworth Tompkins initial designs for their building’s capital redevelopment with the start of an extensive public consultation. The project will see the 43-year-old theatre refurbished and repaired, creating a greener, more efficient and sustainable building for the 21st century. The redeveloped building will incorporate reimagined public spaces, as well as dedicated facilities for health & well-being and community projects.
Theatr Clwyd will remain open throughout the redevelopment. A phased construction period due to commence in 2021 will enable performances to continue on site as well as in a 300-seat pop-up theatre next to the main building. In addition, the programme will include site-specific productions.
A public consultation period will run from Thursday 1 August until Monday 23 September. During this time members of the public are invited to explore the plans both online at www.futuretheatrclwyd.com and in more detail at the theatre on Sunday 1 September, to engage with the project and provide feedback.
The Executive Director of Theatr Clwyd, Liam Evans Ford said,“We are thrilled to be moving towards the next stage of this once-in-a-lifetime project to secure the future of Theatr Clwyd and safeguard its economic impact in north east Wales worth over £7.7m annually. We welcome feedback from everyone in our community to enable us to proceed on this exciting journey together, shaping a bright new future not only for our building, but for generations to come in Flintshire and north Wales whom we are committed to serving. The project will also ensure that north Wales continues to export world class theatre and build upon the 500,000 people who have seen a Theatr Clwyd production elsewhere in the UK over the last 2 years.”
New designs for Theatr Clwyd will provide:
A greener, more energy efficient building
- To reduce costs and enable greater carbon savings, an upgraded insulated building with new heating and ventilation systems will ensure large savings on gas, electricity and water costs, and make better use of resources.
- New toilets will be flushed by rainwater and photovoltaic panels on the roof will produce heat and electricity.
- The surrounding area will be landscaped to include a therapeuticsensory garden and children will have space to explore with an adventure playground. Some produce for the new café and restaurant may be grown on site. Newly planted trees will further improve the carbon footprint and plants on the walls and roofs will naturally insulate the building.
Purpose-built Health and Well-being spaces
Theatr Clwyd’s award-winning health and wellbeing projects make a seismic difference to vulnerable people in our community – from Singing for Lung Health and mental health workshops to Arts from the Armchair for those with early onset memory loss (with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board), Fuse weekly workshops for young people with additional needs and the new Memory Arts Café for those living with dementia.
At the heart of the redevelopment will be a health & well-being suite with specialist changing facilities and a sensory garden – calm and secluded with adjustable sensory lighting, easy access and dedicated equipment.
These spaces will be wholly focused on enabling those in the community who have specific needsto benefit from Theatr Clwyd’s ever-growing arts, health and wellbeing work.
Thousands of people engage with Theatr Clwyd every year, learning new skills, building new communities and exploring their creativity.
- A new youth hub will provide a safe, creative space for rehearsing, meeting and relaxing – a place for young people to call their own. Weekly workshops will have fit-for-purpose rooms and spaces will be equipped to teach transferrable skills based around theatrical expertise in costume, lighting, sound, props, scenic art and set building.
- New rehearsal and teaching spaces will be found for Flintshire Music Service and high-quality instrument storage provided.
Revitalised public areas to improve visitor experience and access
- New public areas will be accessible to everyone. The bar and box office will be reimagined, full height glass windows will give spectacular views with access to an outdoor terrace. The gallery spaces and cinema will be refreshed, with lift access improved. The number of toilets in the building will be quadrupled including more accessible toilets and shared toilets/family rooms with changing facilities. New family facilities will include an indoor play area, outdoor adventure playground and buggy park.
- Inside the performance spaces new carpets and improved seating will be installed. And following earlier public feedback, there will be the option for two central aisles in the Anthony Hopkins Theatre. The balcony seats in the Emlyn Williams Theatre will be accessible and additional wheelchair positions provided in both theatres.
- A new fit-for-purpose kitchen with relocated first-floor restaurant will mean fantastic views and delicious breakfast, lunch and pre-theatre meals made from the best of north Wales produce in a comfortable, beautiful atmosphere. A newly refurbished function room will enable the hosting of large-scale events.
New spaces and facilities to support world-class theatre making
- New fit for purpose rehearsal rooms will be the appropriate size for the stages. Higher ceilings will enable actors to rehearse with sets and sprung dance floors will be installed. Dressing rooms will be refurbished providing relaxing spaces with better access and privacy for actors.
- The stage facilities will be upgraded – the Anthony Hopkins stage will be reinforced, and the stage mechanics and flying systems in both spaces will be repaired. A new workshop will provide improved welding, woodworking and scenic arts equipment enabling sets to be built more efficiently, safely and economically. A new viewing gallery will invite public and staff to see sets being built and painted.
- Wardrobe will move closer to the rehearsal rooms in a specialist area with fitting rooms and upgraded lighting and ventilation. A new lift and access area corridor will enable costumes to moved freely around the building.
Theatr Clwyd is Wales’ biggest award-winning producing theatre. Based in Flintshire, the gateway to North Wales, since 1976 Theatr Clwyd has been a cultural powerhouse producing world-class theatre, from the UK Theatre Award-winning musical The Assassination of Katie Hopkins, and Olivier award-winning Home, I’m Darling, to the site specific, immersive Great Gatsby to its sell-out rock ‘n’ roll pantomime.
Theatr Clwyd is a major centre for the development of Welsh talent and culture. It is one of the few arts organisations in the UK to have retained the complete range of theatrical skills through expert in-house set builders, prop makers, scenic artists and wardrobe teams. It is a major local employer, with a core staff of 93 full time equivalent positions, over 100 casual workers and more than 300 actors and creatives employed annually. In addition, the theatre has supported over 30 apprenticeships and work placements over the past two years.
(All sketches by Haworth Tompkins)