Plans for an ambitious remodel of the front of house areas at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre have been submitted to Birmingham City Council.
The scheme includes a striking new entrance on the building’s iconic facade, a new restaurant on the first floor as well as the creation of more opportunities for performance outside the traditional theatre space.
If approved the work is expected to be completed in 2021 to coincide with the celebration of its 50th anniversary on Centenary Square.
Consultation for the project included conversations with the original architect, Graham Winteringham, who confirmed that a central entrance was originally considered but ruled out due to the location of a pool in a civic square design that was never realised.
The REP, like most arts organisations in the city, has suffered from recent cuts to its funding meaning that aside from the timely context of the area’s regeneration, the project is also necessary for the theatre to remain financially sustainable and continue to inspire future generations.
Rachael Thomas, executive director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre said:
“We’re delighted to be working with APEC on developing The REP to make it even more welcoming and inclusive.
“The designs have been developed through user consultation to inform a feasibility study before developing fuller plans.
“The proposed alterations will create a new and more prominent central entrance as well as making modifications to the internal public areas to develop an informal performance space, improve orientation and access to the theatres whilst also making physical improvements to the bar and catering provision to maximise commercial income and improve ambience, service, access and operability.”
Naomi Fisher, director, APEC Architects said: “At a time when so much mid-late 20th century heritage is disappearing, the proposals seek to celebrate the theatre’s iconic façade, and embrace changes that will help secure The REP’s future.
“During our intense period of user engagement, it was clear that both the building and the organisation are held in great affection, and its reputation for pioneering theatre extends well beyond the city and region; placing the theatre at the heart of Birmingham’s cultural portfolio.
“This scheme seeks to widen access to theatre in the broadest sense of the word. We have immensely enjoyed working collaboratively with The REP’s team to develop proposals that reflect the vision and values of this great company.”
To learn more about the rep and to see what’s on visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk