Malvern Theatres could receive £1m funding boost towards expansion

Malvern Theatres could receive a funding boost of £1million from Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) to extend its educational and community space.

The popular venue, which attracts around 300,000 visitors each year, is the second most visited attraction in the Malvern Hills District.

It is operated by the charitable body, Malvern Theatres Trust, and is on a long-term lease from MHDC.

The extension project, which will cost up to £2.25 million, could receive £1million from the council if recommended by the Executive Committee on 22 March 2022.

The remaining cost will be funded jointly by the council's existing capital programme, and donations and fund raising already secured by Malvern Theatres Trust.

The theatre was granted planning permission in 2019 for a 310 square metre extension, which will create a new vibrant and inviting entrance to the theatre, as well as creating more space for educational and community use.

Unfortunately, the project was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and rising building prices since the pandemic have meant that additional resources are needed for project to be completed.

As well as providing a welcoming and vibrant new main entrance the new extension will enable the theatre to increase its number of workshop places from around 2,500 to 14,500 per year, including more classes such as music, drama, movement, dance, art and more.

Disabled access to the theatre from the Grange Road entrance will also be greatly improved. Part of the new development will also create a new 'Changing Places' toilet facility, making the whole theatre complex accessible for people with severe disabilities for the first time.

It will also enable the theatre to extend its work with Acorns children's hospice and other specialist care providers in the area.

Cllr Peter Whatley, Portfolio Holder for Resources at Malvern Hills District Council, said: "Malvern Theatres is such an integral part of our district which offers not only live performances, but cinema showings and educational programmes enjoyed by so many. Our proposed investment of £1 million will make a significant difference to the popular venue and will allow the theatre to continue with its wonderful community work."

Nic Lloyd, Chief Executive at Malvern Theatres, said: "I'm delighted that Malvern Hills District Council is so generously investing in this important project, which promises to be of huge benefit to the area. The new studio space will allow Malvern Theatres to improve and expand its Education and Creative Learning programme, providing life-changing participation opportunities for people of all ages and abilities in our community.

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