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Page\Park gets the OK for Leeds Playhouse overhaul

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Page\Park Architects has received planning permission for its redevelopment of West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds

Arts Council England has also confirmed a £6.6 million grant towards the £14m Leeds City Council-led scheme.

The makeover, due for completion in 2019, will include a new city-facing entrance, improved access across the theatre and the addition of the new Bramall Rock Void studio theatre space. 

Page\Park’s Nicola Walls, lead architect, welcomed being able to progress to the delivery phase of the project. She said: ’The works will transform the building both internally with revitalised foyers and a new internal route through the building to better connect the existing theatres, and externally to provide the theatre with a new face to the city centre to reflect the creativity within the building.

‘Improved access has been at the heart of all the architectural moves to enable the building to better support the artistic and engagement programme of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.’

Designed by Edinburgh-based Appleton Partnership, the venue, which opened in 1990,  is currently home to the 750-seat Quarry Theatre and 350-capacity Courtyard Theatre alongside a bar, restaurant, function rooms and rehearsal spaces. The theatre is at the heart of Leeds’ Quarry Hill cultural quarter. 

Glasgow-based Page\Park unveiled its vision for the building in July, after winning a competition for the prestigious regeneration scheme the previous year.

In addition to the Arts Council England grant, the council is providing £4.4 million towards the project and the Playhouse £3 million.

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled that this exciting project to transform one of our city’s most prominent and respected arts institutions has secured funding so pivotal to its continued progress.

‘Working alongside our partners at West Yorkshire Playhouse for the past few years, our shared vision has been to reshape the venue into a modern, state-of-the-art theatre which is the focal point of a new cultural hub for the whole city to enjoy.’ 

The Playhouse will continue to stage work during the redevelopment, with a workshop space being temporarily transformed into a 350-seat pop-up theatre.

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