Unity Theatre takes more time to complete redevelopment design and moves its £750,000 Capital Project construction to early 2017.Unity Theatre was due to close to start four months of work which includes changes to the entrance, foyer and performance spaces.
Now - after careful consideration - we have identified more time is needed to carefully consider the innovative design solutions to long standing architectural issues, proposed by architects K2. The traditional summer closure period will now allow for further testing and development of these solutions, designed to address and improve audience experience in the venue, acoustics and cooling.
The Theatre will now close its doors after the end of it's Christmas show in early January 2017, and will reopen at the end of April 2017.
Substantial funding for the work is coming from Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council, which will turn the theatre and former synagogue into a sustainable 21st Century venue.
A full autumn season will now be staged at the venue, including:
- Happy Hour, a Unity Theatre commission from Liverpool physical theatre company Tmesis
- Nina – a Story About Me and Nina Simone, a co-production with Swedish National Touring theatre Riksteatern, starring Unity patron Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE
- Hosting both DaDaFest and Homotopia festivals
- Unity’s Christmas show Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf
Our artistic director and CEO, Matthew Linley, says:
“The opportunity to ensure the Unity is a theatre fit for the 21st century is not something we take lightly. We have a responsibility to ensure that the organisation and its venue are strong and resilient for the next 30 years and more. The capital project planning has begun and during the design process we’ve encountered the need to take more time to complete the brilliant, challenging and innovative designs proposed by (architects) K2.”
“I am delighted that Unity Theatre has been awarded funding towards the improvements to its Hope Place venue which will make it more open and attractive to visitors and artists alike - allowing the theatre to build on its reputation as an important part of the creative infrastructure in Liverpool.” Alison Clark | Director North, Arts Council England
“We're elated that Arts Council England have chosen to support the theatre’s redevelopment. It’s a real vote of confidence in the work the Unity is doing - and once complete - the project will enable the theatre to play an even bigger, more ambitious role in Liverpool, the region and beyond.”
Chris Bliss | Chairman of the Board
“Great news!! Unity can continue to present radical and challenging contemporary performance to the highest of standards. It will be an exciting, enhanced experience for artists and audiences alike. Well done to all!”
Graeme Phillips MBE| Former Artistic Director
"I’m thrilled with the news! This is really going to enhance things for the audience, it’s going to push us into the digital age, it’s going to make this super theatre even more so. We still need your help to really finish this project, so please get involved , check out the website for ways that you can be a part of this amazing project for this amazing theatre."
Andrew Lancel | Patron - Watch Andrew's reaction to the great news here!
“This is brilliant news for the unity. It’s an important creative hub and this refurbishment means they’ll have more to offer both artists and audiences with great new spaces and better facilities. As a proud patron, I couldn’t be more pleased for them”
David Morrissey | Patron
“As a patron I think it's great news that the Arts Council and the City council have committed to supporting the Unity with its continued work to bring new and established local and national works to its growing audience.”
John Bishop | Patron
Josette Bushell-Mingo MBE | Patron - Watch Josette's reaction to the great news here!
This investment will help us to:
Create a world class audience experience to be enjoyed by all.
We will move the entrance of the building so it’s more central and accessible. This will open up the foyers so they’re less crowded with better access to the bars and toilets.
We will make the building more welcoming, and ensure it still feels irredeemably Unity.
Become a greener and more sustainable organisation.
Too hot or too cold? We want to control our heating better to be more energy efficient and make sure Unity is environmentally friendly and a comfortable place to be.
These updates will help Unity invest in great new shows rather than utility bills!
Support artists in imagining, exploring & creating new work.
Our two theatres can’t be used at the same time because of sound issues. We’ll sort this, and update our equipment to make sure we continue to have world class facilities.
For audiences this will mean more thrilling shows and more work made in Liverpool.
How can you get involved?We are still on our journey to raise £750,000, and while being awarded this funding is a big step forward, there is still some way to go before we can make our ambitious plans a reality for artists, audiences and the people of Liverpool.
We are also grateful for the support of Liverpool City Council, and with that and the use of Unity's own reserves, we still have £125,000 left to raise.
As part of our campaign to raise the remaining £125,000 needed to realise our ambitious plans we will be:
- Applying to Trusts and Foundations
- Carrying out a patron telephone fundraising campaign
- Running various fundraising events and auctions
- Seeking donations at events, the bar and box office
"We have twelve months to raise the further investment needed to carry out all our vital work. In this time if every visitor donated just £1, this could be achieved" Sue Williams | Executive Director