Birmingham Royal Ballet has received a £1.85 million grant from Arts Council England to undertake major improvements to its base at the Hippodrome Theatre.
Earlier in the year BRB was successful at Stage One of Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme application process. The company continued to Stage Two securing the £1.85 million package.
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s home, part of the Birmingham Hippodrome complex on Thorp Street, has remained untouched for 23 years since the company moved from London to Birmingham in 1990.
The award will see Birmingham Royal Ballet update its Thorp Street rehearsal home from a private space to a sustainable and adaptable multi-purpose building fit to accommodate its 180-strong work-force and visitors of all ages.
Improvements will allow BRB to build on the delivery of a wide range of activities expected of a modern and outward-facing world class ballet company.
The total cost of refurbishment will be £2.7 million and BRB will raise the remainder of funding from private sources as part of its Campaign for the Future.
BRB aims to gain a minimum of £100,000 per annum (based on present costs) improvement through a combination of efficiencies and additional income. Adaptations to improve building management include the use of solar panels yielding energy savings of up to 10 per cent.
Christopher Barron, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s chief executive said: “This will enable us to create world-class studio facilities and continue to attract the world’s best talent to Birmingham.
“It will improve access for the many young people involved with Birmingham Royal Ballet and provide excellent audience development and fundraising facilities.
“In the current climate it will contribute to the company’s strategic objective of establishing long term financial sustainability, less reliant on public subsidy.”
Peter Knott, area director, Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to offer this award to Birmingham Royal Ballet, their rehearsal space hasn’t been updated for more than 20 years, and they are now in a position to redevelop the Thorp Street premises, making it accessible for all.
“We are working hard with organisations in the cultural sector to increase their sustainability both financially and ecologically.
“This award does both and demonstrates the Company’s commitment to finding more environmentally efficient ways of doing business, while creating the best value-for-money possible.”