Green light for Norwich Theatre Royal’s £3m education centre

Peter Wilson with the plans for the new education centre to be built on the site of the old chapel building behind the Theatre Royal.  Picture: Simon Finlay Peter Wilson with the plans for the new education centre to be built on the site of the old chapel building behind the Theatre Royal. Picture: Simon Finlay

Thursday, September 4, 2014
11:00 AM

Norwich Theatre Royal has been given the green light to build a multi-million pound training and education centre.

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An artist's impression of the new Education and Skills Centre building being proposed by Norwich Theatre Royal.An artist's impression of the new Education and Skills Centre building being proposed by Norwich Theatre Royal.

Members of Norwich City Council’ planning committee today unanimously granted planning permission for the £3m-plus Education and Skills Centre.

It will see the building known as The Chapel - at the back of the theatre - demolished.

In its place, a four-storey building, complete with an 80 to 114-seat auditorium and performance space, along with an education and skills training centre will be built.

The Chapel building, which dates from 1863, is currently used as a store and scenery workshop.

Simeon Jackson, Green city councillor said: “I feel pity, in a way, that this building will lose the character it has, which is very distinctive.

“But, in the end, what is going there is very beneficial to the city and so I will support it.”

Peter Wilson, Norwich Theatre Royal’s chief executive, had said the project would help the theatre reach out to even more young people.

The doors could be opened on the new centre by winter 2015/16.

Mr Wilson said: “Our ambitious education vision will provide thousands of Norfolk schoolchildren with meaningful learning experiences, thereby equipping them with the confidence, ambition and skills to succeed in life.

“This new Education and Skills Centre will transform the breadth of learning opportunities that we offer.”

The new centre would be close to performing arts venue The Garage, where the theatre’s arts courses are currently held, and Mr Wilson said he envisaged the development of both venues would be “entirely complementary”.

Some 60pc of the funding for the project has been secured.

Those who have donated include The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Monument Trust, The Norwich Town Close Estate Charity, the Paul Bassham Charitable Trust and the Geoffrey Watling Charity.

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