Plans for Worcester’s new arts venue positively received

Artist's impression of the new arts centre exterior. Image courtesy of Burrell Foley Fischer Artist's impression of the new arts centre exterior. Image courtesy of Burrell Foley Fischer

Plans for an exciting new arts venue in the heart of Worcester city centre were revealed at a public consultation event in the Guildhall this week, receiving dozens of positive comments.

The ambitious proposals will transform the Angel Place area, attracting world-class arts, music, and comedy acts to the Worcester, as well as giving a much-needed boost to local businesses.

The eagerly anticipated arts centre will revive the historic Scala Theatre, Worcester's original 1920s cinema.

Returned feedback forms covered a range of topics, from eagerness to see the Scala revived, excitement at a potential new city centre venue, and delight at the level of investment in the Worcester.

The spectacular renovation has been designed by architects Burrell Foley Fischer, who also designed the Hall for Cornwall, as well as the Crucible in Sheffield, among several other award-winning venues.

Councillor James Stanley, Vice Chair of Worcester City Council's Policy and Resources Committee, said: "Worcester City Council recognises the immense contribution that the arts sector makes to our entire community, and we are keen to support and invest in that. I'm pleased that the proposed plans for the Scala redevelopment were so positively received at the public consultation and hope that bodes well for the planning process.

"Reviving the city's stunning 1920s cinema would bring a beautiful listed building back alive, while transforming the cultural offering of the region and attracting many thousands of new visitors to boost our economy."

Sarah-Jane Morgan, Chief Executive Officer at Worcester Theatres, said: "This is an exciting time for Worcester and for Worcester Theatres. Adding a new venue to our already-popular portfolio will enable us to offer additional programming and opportunities for cultural engagement for the city. We are really pleased to have heard so many affirmative comments at the public consultation."

The arts centre proposals are part of the Government's Future High Streets Fund, which includes £3.5million worth of public realm improvements to Worcester City Centre, many of which are already being enjoyed by residents.

The formal planning application for the Scala redevelopment will now be submitted to the council and available for comment in due course.

The Swan Theatre will continue to operate for community theatre groups for the foreseeable future, with relevant user groups having suggested several ideas for the Scala that were adopted by the architects.

The areas around Angel Street and Angel Place, The Foregate, The Cross and Trinity Street, are all being regenerated as part of the Future High Streets Fund, creating a vibrant urban neighbourhood with new shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars, as well as housing and office space, transforming the city into a more attractive destination for young people and families. 

View the exhibition of the Scala arts centre plans.

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