The Unity Theatre’s £845,000 transformation is officially underway following the exchange of contracts between the venue and building firm Vivark.
The milestone coincides with a funding boost for the performing arts organisation, which has secured an additional £60,000 in contributions towards its Build Unity Better project.
PH Holt Foundation and Garfield Western Foundation have pledged £10,000 and £50,000 respectively towards the cause, with social enterprise First Ark Group also donating.
This capital is in addition to previously secured investment of £435,000 from Arts Council England, £120,000 from Liverpool City Council, £30,000 from the Granada Foundation and £2,000 from the Ravensdale Foundation, as well as more than £20,000 in individual donations.
Based on designs from architects K2, the revamped Unity will include major alterations to the theatre’s entrance, foyer and first floor bar, and improved soundproofing to allow the venue to use both performances simultaneously more often.
Chris Bliss, chair of Unity Theatre’s board and estate director at Liverpool ONE, says: “It’s incredibly exciting, after years of dreaming, scoping, fundraising and planning, to see the transformation of Unity Theatre set in motion.
“It means that in a matter months, we will see our collective vision of a 21st century theatre, innovatively designed by local architects K2, come to life. Once complete, Unity Theatre will be able to play an even bigger, more ambitious role in Liverpool, the region and beyond.”
The redevelopment work, the first major refurbishment to be carried out at the premises since 1998, is expected to be completed by April this year.
In the interim, Unity Theatre shows will take place at other venues, including Liverpool Cathedral, Make Liverpool, Bluecoat, Capstone Theatre and The Atkinson in Southport.