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Ground breaking event heralds construction of new cultural hub for Doncaster

  • Date: 14 October 2011
  • Area: National, North
Colour illustration of view across one side of the theatre space the the other with stage on left hand side

Architects' impresson of how the main auditorium of Doncaster's new performance venue will look. Credit: Courtesy of Arts Team RHWL

A traditional breaking of the ground ceremony earlier this week saw youth representatives from local arts groups including Doncaster Little Theatre's Youth Theatre and Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra's Junior Band mark the beginning of construction work on Doncaster's new £20m performance venue. The venue will form the creative heart of Doncaster's landmark Civic and Cultural Quarter development.  

The yet to be named multi purpose venue, which has received £2.1million of National Lottery investment from Arts Council England, will feature an ever evolving quality arts programme and a host of participatory activities designed to be accessible to a wide range of audiences. As well as a 600 seat theatre featuring the latest technology to accommodate touring shows, the centre will provide flexible performance space for live music and smaller productions; dance and drama studios; educational and rehearsal spaces that can be transformed into meeting and conference facilities; and a lively cafe bar which opens out onto Doncaster's first ever civic square. The unique design has been developed by specialist theatre architects Arts Team RHWL.

The new performance venue is designed to engage local communities in the arts. It is rooted in lifelong learning and education opportunities and will provide workshops alongside outreach and community focused creative programmes. Doncaster Council have developed the project in close partnership with Arts Council England, local creative industries, the voluntary arts sector and Doncaster College, and it will in turn offer itself as a valuable resource in terms of creative skills development and provision of a much needed platform from which to both deliver and participate in a host of arts activity.

Alongside its role in delivering cultural opportunities to the people of Doncaster, the new venue forms a vital part in the regeneration of the town's Waterdale area, and will look to play a key role in cultural tourism, attracting new audiences through exciting creative programming.

Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director, Arts Council England said: 'Doncaster's new performance venue is a hugely exciting prospect for the town. The multi-purpose nature of the space will open the centre up to all kinds of arts activity, encouraging collaboration and offering more opportunities for people to get involved in great art. We are delighted to be a partner in this project which will provide the town with a first rate arts venue that the people of Doncaster can be proud of.'

Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, said: 'This is an historic moment for Doncaster as work on its new venue gets underway. With its numerous performance spaces and world class facilities it will be another big attraction our residents and visitors to the town can benefit from. Whether it's catching the latest shows and performers, participating in and learning about the arts or simply a place to meet up and unwind with friends there will be something we all can enjoy. It will certainly put the culture into the town's new Civic and Cultural Quarter and promises to be one of the most talked about new venues in the country.'

Doncaster's new performance venue will build on the work of the town's popular Hothouse Festival and will form part of the Arts Council England's new National portfolio. Building work is scheduled for completion in Spring 2013.