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Brand new Pegasus youth theatre reopens following a £7.4 million rebuild

  • Date: 2 September 2010
  • Area: South East
Pegasus' new building, 2010

Pegasus' new building, 2010. Credit: Photograph: David Fisher

One year on and £7.4 million later, the new Pegasus Theatre opens to the public on 4 September following a major rebuilding project.

Supported by an Arts Council Capital Grant for the arts award of £3.35 million, the regularly funded organisation's new home was made possible after a long, but successful fundraising campaign.

The youth theatre has been providing high quality dance, theatre and other arts education for young people and adults in the community since 1974 and upgraded facilities were long overdue.

The theatre raised £750,000 from the community including £100,000 from renowned Oxford-based author Philip Pullman, who has been a long-time supporter of the theatre. Other funding included £1.85 million from the Big Lottery Fund and the Department of Children, Schools and Families and support from Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council.

The theatre and its supporters raised the necessary cash through a variety of schemes including £500 seat naming, a friends' scheme and sponsored events.  Members of the public were also invited to sponsor individual roundels of Matthew Sanderson's giant metal Magdalen Tree sculpture, which adorns Pegasus' foyer.

The new site includes a new foyer, cafe, meeting rooms, dance studio, rehearsal spaces and a workshop attached to the stage. Other innovations include solar panels to power the whole building.

Pegasus' Capital Project Director Simon Daykin and his team worked with environmentally sustainable design experts Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, who were named the 2010 Architects Journal 100 Sustainable practice of the year for the third time.

In keeping with Pegasus' passion for placing young people at the heart of its artistic vision, artists were commissioned to create new works integrating the memories and imagination of the young people into the new building.

Colour artist Libby Lloyd worked on all aspects of the building's artistic concept and lead artist Aurelian Koch consulted with young people, former users and staff to create a garden sculpture containing sections of the old studio. Matthew Sanderson also worked with competition winner Alex Beatty to create a cycle parking sculpture that is wrapped in over 300 bicycle chains.

Euton Daley, Pegasus' Artistic Director and Chief Executive, says, 'This is a momentous occasion for Pegasus. The achievement of everyone involved is almost unimaginable but now that we have reached it, even more is in our sights than ever before.

'The support of our funders, local community and especially young people has been overwhelming and positive, giving us the impetus to keep going when we hit stumbling blocks. We want to share this wonderful place and look forward to seeing it come alive with every new visitor.'

Pegasus' opening day celebration on Saturday 4 September, Water's Flight, includes an official ceremony on the Pullman stage and performances from African artists Kuumba Nia Arts, with music, dance, drumming and song. 

Tickets for Water's Flight are on sale now at £10, which includes refreshments, a souvenir programme and a goody bag. The event starts at 7pm and ends at 9pm.

To see what is on offer at Pegasus Theatre this season, visit their website http://www.pegasustheatre.org.uk.