On 1 April 2012 Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company will merge to create a major new multi-artform producing organisation. This will be based in a purpose-built home at First Street, due to open in 2014. Funded mainly by a contribution from Manchester City Council, the organisation has just learnt that its joint application with the City for a £5 million grant from Arts Council England’s new Capital Investment programme has successfully gone through to the second stage.
The new home for the organisation is being procured by Manchester City Council, working in partnership with ASK Developments and the merged Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company. It will act as a powerful catalyst to the regeneration of the 20-acre First Street site and its neighbourhood, and will be an important addition to Manchester’s cultural infrastructure.
The designs for the venue are being led by Dutch architects Mecanoo, and include plans for a 500 seat theatre, 120-150 flexible theatre, 500m2 4m high gallery space, five cinema screens, education spaces, digital production and broadcast facilities, café bar, restaurant and offices and workshop spaces. A planning application for the building has been submitted to Manchester City Council with a decision expected in early summer 2012.
Building on the heritage of Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company, the artistic concept for this new organisation will take the individual elements of Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company to create a new and exciting artistic vision, which will involve audiences, artists and performers at a fundamental level. Jim Forrester, previously Director of the Imperial War Museum North, will chair the board of the new organisation.
Dave Moutrey, Chief Executive of Cornerhouse, who will lead the new organisation, comments: ‘I’m delighted that the merger between Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company has now been formalised. This is a great partnership, with both organisations already working together closely in the run-up to the merger. The strength of this collaboration is built on our common commitment to the work, our audiences and artists.’
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure for Manchester City Council, said: ‘This is an important milestone in a project which play a powerful role in Manchester’s cultural and economic life.
‘As a council we don’t see culture as an optional add-on. We see it as an essential ingredient of our regeneration plans, something which fuels the economy, supports jobs, nurtures talent and makes the city a more desirable place to be – for residents, visitors and investors alike.
‘The merged organisation will play a powerful role in driving this ambition forwards and its new home will act as a catalyst to the regeneration of the wider area, as well as an artistic centre of excellence.’
The Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company brands will continue until the move to the new venue, and distinct programmes will also be maintained until this time, with the Library Theatre Company performing productions at The Lowry as well as site-specific work. A brand for the new organisation is currently being developed and will be launched in the autumn.
For further information, please contact Iliana Taliotis or Janine Limb at Colman Getty on 020 7631 2666, firstname.lastname@example.org