The fundraising campaign to support the development of Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre has taken a major step forward after the first businesses signed up to support the 2020 Redevelopment Project.
The Theatre, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018, has ambitious plans for growth as Coventry heads towards UK City of Culture in 2021 and part of that is a £4.8m project which will be completed in time for the big year.
Work on phase one – to refresh the Main Stage Auditorium to create a more enjoyable experience for audiences and visitors – has now been completed and phase two is the redevelopment of the café and first floor Burbidge Room, which will help secure the Theatre’s long-term sustainability.
The Theatre needs private sector backing to undertake the major project and already a handful of firms have signed up to the Play Your Part campaign as they have agreed to Sponsor a Step on the new staircase which will be a central feature of the new development.
The companies that have stepped up as sponsors so far include Deeley Group, PMP Consultants, EDG Property, Evertaut Ltd, Shortland Horne, CityFibre, Corstorphine & Wright Architects, Engineering Practice, MCS Corporate Strategies and K B Benfield Group.
David Shortland, of Shortland Horne Estate Agents, who also has a bar named after him at the Belgrade Theatre because of his ongoing support, said it was vital for businesses to support arts and culture.
He said: “Like so many companies across the city and region, we are excited by UK City of Culture 2021 and we can see the major economic and social benefits it will bring here.
“The Belgrade Theatre will have a massive role to play during and after 2021 and this development will help this iconic theatre become even more self-sustaining.
“We are long-term supporters of the Belgrade and we are delighted to be sponsoring a step and being an early backer of the Play Your Part campaign.”
Leigh Hunt, of CityFibre, the UK’s leading alternative provider of wholesale full fibre infrastructure, said: “This is a major step forward for the Belgrade Theatre and CityFibre wanted to be part of that and show its support.
“Right at the heart of our Gigabit City Coventry project are the local communities we will serve with the future-proof network which is being now rolled out across the city. Belgrade Theatre is a key cultural and social destination for Coventry and we are pleased to be intrinsically linked to this project, playing a crucial role in protecting the theatre’s future.
“We would encourage other companies to get involved and support the Play Your Part campaign by sponsoring a step.”
By sponsoring a step at £2,020 (+VAT) it will see supporters’ names grace the staircase when work is completed next year. However, there are a variety of ways to recognise support to meet the varying budgets available to companies.
The Theatre is also ready to have conversations with potential naming rights sponsors for other elements of the development, such as the new café itself.
Helen Hotchkiss, Head of Development at the Belgrade Theatre, thanked those companies which are already part of the Play Your Part Campaign.
She said: “We are thrilled to have our first group of steps sponsored already and are grateful to all those companies who are backing us.
“To make the development happen, we still need further business support and we’d urge companies to get in touch to find out how they can be part of creating this fantastic legacy for the Belgrade Theatre and the city.”
If you would like to play your part in the legacy of 2021 and the work of the Belgrade, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02476 846 758.
Caption (left to right): Leigh Hunt (CityFibre), David Shortland (Shortland Horne), Joanna Reid (Belgrade)