New Maltings a key feature of Borderlands deal
18 Mar 2021 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
A new multi-million pound arts venue for Berwick has been confirmed after the signing of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.
The new Maltings venue will be an ‘iconic, multi-purpose cultural and entertainment complex’ when its doors open in 2025. Building on the successful track record of the Maltings (Berwick) Trust’s main venue, and located on Eastern Lane in the centre of the town, the project will deliver a major transformation and expansion of the current venue and its impact on the town and surrounding area.
The development of the £17.7m venue, with a £15m contribution from Borderlands, is planned to start on site in February 2023. The remaining funding is set to come from the county council and partners.
The Maltings is England's most northerly venue, with panoramic views across the 17th century old Berwick Bridge and the Tweed Estuary. It was built in the ruins of an early 19th-century Maltings and was opened in 1990.
Every year it hosts more than 600 live events, workshops and digital cinema screenings, selling almost 60,000 tickets and serving as a key cultural hub for North Northumberland and the eastern Scottish Borders.
Council Leader Glen Sanderson said: “This is exciting news, not just for the people of Berwick but also much further afield.
“It’s a key asset for Berwick, attracting visitors and spending to the town and giving people repeated reasons to visit. Despite the theatre’s strong reputation and significant impact on the town and its local economy, its potential to grow audiences and draw more visitors to Berwick is constrained by the current facilities.
“This Borderlands investment will dramatically improve and expand its facilities and offer, making Berwick a centre for culture and the arts and delivering a significant boost to the local economy.”
The new facilities will include:
- A larger auditorium to provide extra seats and the opportunity to secure larger touring productions and higher profile live performances across theatre, music, comedy, and dance.
- A dedicated cinema space that will enable The Maltings to run live events and cinema screenings simultaneously.
- A destination restaurant and bar.
- A dedicated studio theatre.
- A flexible-use education, event, screening and rehearsal space.
Cllr Sanderson added: “This project will become the centrepiece of a wider programme of investments that are strengthening Berwick’s position as an attractive visitor destination and regenerating the town.”
Berwick North County Councillor Catherine Seymour said: “At last the signing of the Borderlands Deal has taken place and the funding has been approved.
“Our new Maltings theatre, in the same location, will house expanded productions and cultural programmes with increased capacity that will benefit the community and bring economic growth and regeneration. Now is the time to get on with new build and look forward to seeing the architects designs and plans to fit and complement the surrounding heritage buildings in the middle of the town. This will be a magnetic draw and attraction along with all that visitors experience and enjoy in Berwick.”
During the two year build, The Maltings will use available buildings around Berwick to continue delivering its programme. The temporary facilities, including The Gymnasium Gallery and other sites at Berwick Barracks, will add to the current cultural offer at the Barracks and also enable other arts organisations associated with The Maltings, such as the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, to continue to engage and attract audiences and visitors in the town.
Chair of Trustees for The Maltings (Berwick) Trust, Euan Duthie QC, said: “We are all thrilled to be working with NCC on this flagship project in support of the culture-led regeneration of Berwick.
“The Maltings is already the cultural heart of Berwick, punching well above its weight in delivering a combined arts programme of genuine quality and appeal.
“The New Maltings project will take the town to a whole new level, allowing us to expand our artistic ambition and grow our audience in terms of artistic reputation, breadth of programme, and community engagement right across our region."
Alongside The Maltings Eastern Lane development, alternative and improved car parking facilities across the town centre are also actively being explored ahead of any work starting.