Plans for Worcester’s new theatre move forward

Scala Theatre at Angel Place

Councillors are set to consider the next steps in the £17.9 million regeneration of Angel Place and the surrounding area, when Worcester City Council's Policy and Resources Committee meets on 16 November 2021.

This significant redevelopment, supported by central Government's Future High Street Fund, will see Worcester's Angel Place and the surrounding area transformed into an exciting leisure, cultural, entertainment and residential quarter over the next five years.

The centrepiece will be the conversion of the former Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange buildings into a brand new performance arts centre for the city. This will replace the existing Swan Theatre facility based in The Moors, with the Worcester Theatres organisation relocating to the new site in Angel Place. It is anticipated that the new facility will open in 2024.

"It's fantastic news that thanks to the Government's £17.9m investment, Worcester will soon have a brand new theatre and performing arts venue, fit for the 21st Century," said Councillor Marc Bayliss, Leader of Worcester City Council.

"This new facility will not only enrich the lives of local people, but it will also increase foot fall to the north of the city centre and create many new jobs in the creative, construction, hospitality and retail sectors."

Sarah-Jane Morgan, Chief Executive of Worcester Theatres, said: "Worcester Theatres are delighted to be working with the City Council on the redevelopment of the Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange.

"The Council's aspirations to provide a fabulous new cultural venue for the city offers our organisation the ability to develop ambitious plans to bring new artists and fresh professional programming to Worcester, in turn ensuring we are offering more opportunities and engaging with a wider cross-section of the community in years to come.

"Whilst our team will be incredibly sad to leave the Swan Theatre, which has served both our organisation and others so well over the past decades, we recognise that the new facility will provide our team and all those who engage with the arts a venue future-proofed for decades to come."

Specialist consultants TheatrePlan have now completed a design feasibility study to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to locate the main auditorium, studio theatre, front and back of house facilities, hospitality provision and rehearsal space at the Angel Place location.

The independent study has concluded that there is significant potential to create a new thriving performance arts destination at the site, with the new main auditorium in the current Scala Theatre building and a smaller studio theatre located on the upper floor of the adjacent Corn Exchange, which the City Council has purchased with Future High Street funding.

If councillors approve the proposals, the next step will be to appoint architects to develop detailed designs for the new theatre, with a view to submitting a planning proposal in the first half of 2022.

Further information on Worcester's £17.9 million Future High Street Fund investment. 

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