Birmingham Royal Ballet is thrilled to announce it is a successful recipient under Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme.  Earlier in the year the Company was successful at Stage One of the Capital application process. The Company continued to Stage Two securing an award of £1.85m. This substantial grant will allow Birmingham Royal Ballet to undergo major improvements to its home base in the Midlands in the summer of 2014.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s home, part of the Birmingham Hippodrome complex, has remained untouched for 23 years since the Company moved from London to Birmingham in 1990.

The award will see Birmingham Royal Ballet update its Thorp Street rehearsal home from a private space to a sustainable and adaptable multi-purpose building fit to accommodate its 180-strong work-force and visiting personnel including young people of all ages. Improvements will allow the Company to build on the delivery of a wide range of activities expected of a modern and outward-facing world class ballet company.

Birmingham Royal Ballet aspires to transform its premises into accessible first class rehearsal facilities which both welcome the public whilst providing a 21st C working environment for its staff.  By addressing the existing design and physical limitations of the building, the major refurbishment will allow the Company to deliver further public engagement initiatives thereby strengthening the Company’s ability to put learning and outreach work at the heart of its artistic and organisational strategy.

The total cost of refurbishment will be £2.7m and Birmingham Royal Ballet will raise the remainder of funding from private sources as part of its Campaign for the Future.

The Company aims to gain a minimum of £100,000 per annum (based on present costs) improvement in financial resilience through a combination of efficiencies and additional income. Adaptations to improve building management include the use of solar panels yielding energy savings of up to 10%.

Christopher Barron, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Chief Executive said: We are thrilled to receive the Arts Council England funding.  It will enable us to create world-class studio facilities and continue to attract the world’s best talent to Birmingham. It will improve access for the many young people involved with Birmingham Royal Ballet and provide excellent audience development and fundraising facilities. In the current climate it will contribute to the Company’s strategic objective of establishing long term financial sustainability, less reliant on public subsidy. He continued: The refurbished facilities will enable an increased delivery of community work in-house offering unique, first-hand experience of dance and Birmingham Royal Ballet. The optimal studio configuration will enhance the Company’s scope for rehearsing and staging large-scale ballet and provide outstanding facilities to attract, retain and care for elite dancers.

 Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: We are delighted to offer this award to Birmingham Royal Ballet, their rehearsal space hasn’t been updated for more than 20 years, and they are now in a position to redevelop the Thorp Street premises, making it accessible for all. We are working hard with organisations in the cultural sector to increase their sustainability both financially and ecologically.  This award does both and demonstrates the Company’s commitment to finding more environmentally efficient ways of doing business, whilst creating the best value-for-money possible.

Notes to Editors

  • The Studio Transformation (a £2.7million project) is a discrete, stand-alone strand of BRB’s Campaign for the Future. It is fundamental to our ability to inspire the next generation of ballet talent and audiences to discover classical ballet.  In January 2013 BRB publicly launched its £15 million Campaign for the Future to invest in new audiences, develop talent and inspire community engagement in classical ballet. It also marks a fundamental change in how the company will be funded and lays the foundation for a creatively vibrant future. The goal of the campaign is to secure charitable funding for revenue and capital projects that (i) replaces public subsidy, (ii) boosts earned and fundraising income to pay for new projects and (iii) reduces costs. To date, we have raised £8.6million including a £1million gift from the Cadbury family plus £1million ACE Catalyst match funding to create the Cadbury Dance Fellowship which supports young dancers during their transition from school into their professional careers and £3million of philanthropic support for new productions (Cinderella, Aladdin and The Prince of the Pagodas) to inspire new audiences.
  • ACE Capital awards in Birmingham 2013 were awarded to both the CBSO and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Both organisations have worked hard to create sustainable business models and the ACE Capital awards for both CBSO and BRB are an important development for the future of the arts in the region.

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