Council to spend half a million pounds on York Theatre Royal

York Theatre Royal

The council is to put half a million pounds towards improvements at York Theatre Royal.

Upgrade work will include making the theatre lighting more environmentally friendly, investing in box office software and making the venue more accessible for disabled people.

City of York Council agreed to put £500,000 towards the work at a budget meeting on February 27 – when councillors approved a council tax increase of 3.99 per cent and outlined where the authority’s money will be spent.

The council has provided funding for the theatre for many years – and in 2016 it gave a four-year grant of £770,000 to the venue for its refurbishment – according to a report prepared for a council meeting next Monday.

Boosts residents’ wellbeing

Cllr Darryl Smalley

Cllr Darryl Smalley said: “The council has a long-standing partnership with York Theatre Royal and the theatre plays a significant role in contributing to the diversity of York’s economy and the wellbeing of residents.

“The decision session will set out how the council and York Theatre Royal will work together in the future, from strengthening the local economy, increasing opportunities for young people and importantly ensuring value for money.”

The theatre is run by a charity, York Citizens’ Theatre Trust, and also receives Arts Council England funding of £587,254 per year.

The £500K funding from the council over four-years will go towards improving the energy efficiency of the heating systems, upgrading offices to help staff work more efficiently and enhancing the IT services.

The report adds there will be improvements to disabled access, green initiatives and maximising ticket sales.

Exciting plans

York Theatre Royal executive director Tom Bird. Photograph: Kirkpatrick Photography

Tom Bird, executive director at the venue, said: “York Theatre Royal plays a vital role in the life of our city.

“This ongoing commitment from City of York Council will ensure that our theatre can continue to contribute to the economic, social and cultural life of York and the wider region.” He added:

  • We have exciting plans over the next few years to ensure we are accessible to all, sustainable and that we offer a diverse programme of productions, projects and initiatives out in local communities, as well as continuing to welcome our many audiences and visitors into our historic building.

As part of its work, the theatre provides a year round programme of in-house productions, including a pantomime, youth theatre productions and opportunities for local amateur companies.