After a summer of extensive renovations, Tewkesbury’s much awaited new arts centre is now open.
Months of fundraising, planning, and construction has come to fruition and the next chapter of The Roses Theatre has begun. For three months over last summer, the building was enclosed in scaffolding as work was carried out to complete the refurbishment. Architects Poole Phillips and contractors Matthews Construction worked tirelessly to ensure this momentous change was realised to its full potential.
The £1m project was kick-started by the Tewkesbury Borough Council, who contributed £150,000, The Arts Council, Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, and Barnwood among other trusts, alongside a wealth of local business support.
Director Deborah Rees says: “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters. Well over 3,000 people have individually donated to this project as well as support from local trusts and businesses. We could not have achieved any of this without this amazing support.”
A prominent triumph was the much publicised buy a brick campaign which has raised the theatre tens of thousands of pounds, and took the fundraising campaign within sight of reaching its target. As a result theatre staff took the opportunity to expand the development works to include the auditorium, and as such audiences have been greeted by a newly carpeted and redecorated auditorium which was not included within the original plan. Visitors have been noticing a tremendous difference as soon as they enter the modernised building; the foyer has been extended into a light and airy atrium which will hit guests with its wow factor decor and contemporary ambience. The new downstairs coffee bar, Cotteswold Coffee @ The Roses, sells a tempting collection of delicious cakes, pastries, coffees, teas and refreshments, the toilets have been completely overhauled, the auditorium has been repainted and a new carpet installed, the upstairs bar will be serving pre show meals, and a brand new heating system has been established. A brand new lift will be installed in the New Year, improving accessibility to all areas of the theatre.
Not only has the building itself been expanded and updated, but the staff body will also be enhanced as the redevelopment will create several employment opportunities for the local community and beyond. New coffee shop and box office clerks have already settled in to their new roles, but there will be more exciting opportunities for job seekers in the near future.
As well as contributing to the well being of the communities, The Roses also has a positive economic impact. It is now established that, through the multiplier effect, direct spending on the arts leads to spending in other areas of the economy, which in turn enhances wealth and job creation. The impact of arts organisations positively affects other sectors, notably shopping, tourism, accommodation and transport. The Theatre spends about a quarter of a million pounds in the local economy and is a significant presence in the town, regularly featuring in marketing material supporting accommodation providers and tourism. These works will see The Roses as a cultural venue further supporting the local economy, which will complete the cycle by again developing its own muscle as a destination location.
While the theatre itself was closed to the public, live and film events were held at The Watson Hall and Victoria Pleasure Gardens as it was still important to provide the local communities with the diverse programme of entertainment they expect from The Roses. Staff offices have also been modernised and they are all very impressed with the new facilities and working environment. All at The Roses are very much looking forward to sharing the astounding transformation with those who are yet to visit and they are feeling optimistic about the promising new future for the arts centre.
This is what we achieved in Phase 1:
This project has shown us what can be achieved and has fuelled our desire to ensure the contined expansion and regeneration of the Roses as a true community destination. Therefore, we are delighted to announce the launch of Phase 2 of our development project - Even More Magic. Phase 2 is a £500k project that extends the theatre complex by introducing versatile new studio space to the north end of the building, enabling us to extend our artistic provision. The studio, complete with redeveloped dressing rooms, additional office space and improved access to the existing stage is planned to be completed in 2017.
Phase 2 will enable us to develop and nurture artist talent in Gloucester, offering artists a new space for R and D, increase our community programme with a purpose built space, programme multiple events at one time, and Increase our sustainability as we benefit from new income streams.