A specialist arts school is set to take over the running of a historic Birmingham theatre after winning a council contract.
The Birmingham Ormiston Academy, which caters for 14-19 year olds specialising in drama, the arts and design, will ‘breathe new life’ into the Old Rep Theatre following its appointment.
The City Council put up the contract for the Station Street venue out for tender in a bid to save £20,000 a year in running costs, as well as find someone who could fill the theatre all year round - the building is currently unused for 20 weeks a year.
The Academy is to sign a five-year lease for the theatre, with an option to extend until 2024.
Council deputy leader Ian Ward said: “I am delighted that Birmingham Ormiston Academy, which specialises in creative, digital and performing arts for 14 to 19 year olds, has stepped up to the mark.
“The Old Rep is an ideal place for young people to develop theatrical skills, whether as performers or behind the scenes. We don’t have the funding for proactive programming or marketing so the theatre has not been used to its potential. I believe that Birmingham Ormiston Academy will breathe new life into this wonderful space and build on the work already being done there.”
The deal is set to be formally approved by the council’s Cabinet when it meets on Monday, March 17. The building is owned by The Vyse Trust and the deal will be subject to their consent.
Opened in 1912, the Old Rep was the UK’s first purpose-built repertory theatre and home to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre until it moved to Centenary Square in 1971.