GLASGOW’S Theatre Royal will close for just three months while work continues on the £11.5m project to build new public spaces at the famous venue.
Following demolition and new foundations, main construction work is under way boosted by an £850,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the £11.5m costs.
Following demolition of the Café Royal ‘wing’ of the theatre earlier this year, foundations have been laid for a distinctive oval-shaped addition that will begin to rise from the ground in the coming months. When work is completed, there will be a new entrance, foyers bars, box office, and hospitality suites. The new building will enable lifts to be installed for the first time at the venue.
The Scottish Government has committed capital funding of £4m which is being built by Sir Robert McAlpine to a design by architect Page\Park.
On a visit to the site, culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Theatre Royal is a beautiful building and one of our nation’s major cultural assets. However, it was built in Victorian times and needs updating to meet modern needs.
“This project – which is due to be completed by the Commonwealth Games in 2014 – will transform the theatre, with the addition of a spacious new foyer and much improved public facilities ensuring it will be accessible to all. The creation of a new education suite and plans to open up the foyer for use during the day will also turn the Theatre into a fantastic cultural resource for Glasgow and Scotland as a whole.”
Scottish Opera, which has owned the theatre since 1974, has been leading the campaign to raise funding for the work.
The construction programme has been planned to minimise the impact on the theatre’s regular schedule of performances. While building will last until May 2014, the theatre will close only for a three-month period early next year.