Alnwick Playhouse

 Alnwick Playhouse and community hub reopens to the public

Alnwick Playhouse, one of the town’s most popular and well loved buildings has re-opened to the public following a £3.3m renovation.

The Playhouse building has been converted and now houses a community hub with a cafe, library and visitor centre on the ground floor. The  bar and  gallery have also been refurbished and the auditorium rebuilt incorporating features such as hand rails and ample seated leg room.

Northumberland County Council has contributed £2.5 million towards the cost of the work, with the Playhouse raising a further £800,000. 

A grand opening weekend of events has been laid on  including family-friendly events, free drop-in activities, behind-the-scenes tours, film screenings and workshops to ensure there was something for everyone.

The Alnwick Forum also held a special drop in session on Saturday so members of the public could hear in more detail about the aims and future challenges for the Playhouse.

In early December the town’s library relocated from Green Batt into the venue and the Tourist Information Centre has now relocated from The Shambles.

Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council said:

“ Alnwick Playhouse is very much part of the community and now has a huge future ahead of it. By integrating services that work together - a library, visitor centre, a theatre and a cafe - into the building, we have made it a much more viable operation and it will be open to the public every single day. ”

Chris Sayers, Chairman of the Alnwick District Playhouse Trust said:

“ We are incredibly lucky to have a Playhouse like this. The finished results are absolutely stunning and will preserve and protect the Playhouse for future generations.

“ The council had great vision to come up with this remarkable project and it has been a real partnership effort to realise this dream and restore and repair it to the highest of standards, bringing the whole building back to life. “

Northumberland County Councillor Cath Homer, cabinet member for arts, leisure, culture and tourism said:

“  The building will continue to be  a real focal point for the town, bringing the community together under one roof.  I am confident the new and improved Playhouse will continue to be well used by local residents and visitors for many years to come.  

Local Ward Councillor, and Playhouse Trust Board member Gordon Castle said:

“ I used to come to the Playhouse when I was just six years old and it was a very popular  back then, and I am delighted to say that it still is.

“ Over the years the offer of the Playhouse has expanded with plays, shows, films and events, but unfortunately the building was failing and needed a lot of repairs. The roof was leaking and the electrics weren’t great. With the persistence and commitment of a whole range of partners we have been able to restore the building and create a fantastic arts and cultural centre for the north east of the county. “

“I am proud to have been the county council appointed board member of the Playhouse Trust for over 5 years and to have played an active role in getting to where we are today.”
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