- Date: 25 June 2010
- Area: South East
Philip Pullman. Credit: Photo: Ann Giles http://bookwitch.wordpress.com
An Oxford youth theatre undergoing a major rebuild has thanked its author patron by naming a stage after him.
Pegasus Theatre, an Arts Council England regularly funded organisation, has been closed for the past year while having a major £7.4 million refurbishment, supported by an Arts Council capital Grant for the arts award of £3.35 million.
The theatre is renaming its auditorium the Pullman Stage in honour of Philip Pullman, renowned author of the His Dark Materials trilogy. Pullman, who lives in Oxford, has been a long-time supporter of the theatre.
Pullman became Pegasus' first Patron in 2000. Recently, he and his wife Jude donated nearly £100,000 towards the refurbishment, to encourage others to help with the appeal. The theatre raised £750,000 from the community. Pegasus will honour the author and his wife at a special ceremony on 5 July.
Pullman has been acquainted with the theatre since his days as an Oxfordshire school teacher.
Pullman says: 'In the wonderful new Pegasus, we have not only a thrilling space for all kinds of theatrical experience, but also a body of people dedicated to helping young people make the best drama they possibly can.
'More than both of those: an idea of hope and delight and truthfulness. We are privileged to be able to support this, and we hope many others will join us in the endeavour.'
The newly refurbished theatre will re-open on 4 September. Work to the Magdalen Road site includes a new foyer, cafe, meeting rooms, dance studio, rehearsal spaces and a workshop attached to the stage.
On 3 June, 400 people turned up to the theatre's all day Pegasus At The Park event in Florence Park, Cowley, which they organised to launch their new season and give locals a taste of activities to come once the building reopens.
Pegasus Theatre is supported through Arts Council England, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council and public donations.