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Birmingham’s mac re-opens after £15m investment

  • Date: 27 May 2010
  • Area: Midlands
Artist impression of the new mac, opening in 2010

Artist impression of the new mac, opening in 2010.

mac in Birmingham, re-opened over the May Day weekend after a two-year £15m building project which has transformed the centre into an iconic, multi-purpose cultural complex ready for the 21st century.

Over the weekend 30,000 people queued to get into the impressive building in Cannon Hill Park. The expansion and refurbishment project has brought together originally separate buildings through a clever architectural design into a new light and airy space opening a full vista to the adjoining park. The centre is now 40 per cent bigger with lots more public space.

The scheme has been a partnership between mac and sampad, the national agency for South Asian Arts, which is based in the centre. Arts Council England awarded a £6.2m grant from the National Lottery and Birmingham City Council provided £6.7m.  A successful mac/sampad capital appeal provided the rest.

Artistic Director and Chief Executive of mac, Dorothy Wilson, said: 'We're tremendously grateful for the wholehearted support and encouragement we've received from Arts Council England throughout the building project and beyond.

'Without the backing of the Arts Council we simply would not have been able to develop mac into what it is today - a truly engaging and accessible arts centre equipped for the 21st Century.'

Ros Robins, West Midlands director, Arts Council England, said: 'We have been delighted to support this re-building and also to give mac annual funding of almost £800,000 this year. It is a valuable asset in the West Midlands arts scene and has built up a fine reputation over the years.'

The centre comprises a revamped cinema, two theatres and art workshops along with a new double-height gallery, exhibition spaces, digital media suite, café-bar and performance studios. Accessibility has been at the heart of the project and the building offers free Wi-Fi throughout. A community information space, The Hub, provides an internet café.

In its wonderful setting in the leafy Cannon Hill Park, and opposite the famous Warwickshire cricket ground, mac has been a pioneering arts venue for creative experimentation and public engagement since it opened in the 1960s.

For information on what's on visit www.macarts.co.uk