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New city centre theatre hosts first performances

Katie Town
Katie Town

An innovative new arts venue has been unveiled at the Theatre Royal Wakefield that will link the city’s past with the present.

The Centre for Creativity is a cafe bar and performance space attached to the main Victorian building on Westgate.

Audiences had their first look at the new building – which is intended to host more modern and interactive performances that would not be possible in the old theatre – with a production of Thumbelina over the May Day bank holiday.

Katie Town, executive director of theatre, said: “It’s really exciting to be launching a vibrant new performing arts venue at a point when the city has so much confidence in itself and is really working together to make the best of what its assets are. I can’t wait for it to be finished so we can welcome as many people as possible in.

“We want to reach out to people who may not have thought the theatre is for them.”

The building is sandwiched in between the old theatre and Lala’s Restaurant on Westgate, with the external walls of those buildings visible on the inside.

Katie said: “For me the most important bit is it’s really honest to it’s history. It’s not just a modern building that’s dropped in from outer space that doesn’t relate to what else is going on in Westgate. It’s architecture respects what has been here already.”

For the finishing touches to the new building, the theatre needs to raise £60,000.

This would pay for theatre sound and lighting for the performance space, which it currently has to rent, and to complete the passageway between the old and new buildings.

Katie said: “One million pounds has created this amazing, beautiful building and now we need to close that funding gap with £60,000 to be able to fully animate it and make it be fully usable.”

The next production will be held May 30 at the opening of Long Division festival. Donations can be made online at theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk or via the box office on 01924 211311.