Contractors invited to bid for £33m Welsh theatre revamp
Flintshire County Council has put out a call for a contractor to carry out a major overhaul and expansion of Theatr Clwyd in Mold.
Plans to expand and refurbish Theatr Clwyd, which was designed by Flintshire County Architect R W Harvey and constructed between 1969 and 1976, were drawn up to upgrade the current facilities and build in sustainability.
Under the £33m upgrade plan, the 45-year-old building will be extensively refurbished and repaired, along with significant improvements to deliver a more energy-efficient building.
By improving the build structure and utilising renewable energy sources such as PV panels and air source heat pumps the theatre will see large savings on gas, electricity, and water costs, and make better use of resources.
All services and theatre equipment will be replaced throughout the building, and a new timber extension will be built at the front of the building providing a welcoming foyer space over three floors, with a new double height restaurant, bar and café, as well as a meeting room and Green Room.
Making the most of the spectacular views across the Clwyd countryside, the majority of the foyer will be glazed and shaded by a large timber canopy to the south side.
When the plans by Sterling Prize-winning architects Haworth Tompkins were initially revealed, they met with some resistance from The Twentieth Century Society, which claimed they would “cause substantial harm to this important post-war building.”
Outlining the opposition on its website, The Twentieth Century Society caseworker Coco Whittaker said: “The theatre is an important post-war building in Wales and its conservation should be of primary concern.
“We have high regard for the expertise of the architects Haworth Tompkins in designing performance venues in both new and historic contexts. “
“That said, we object to the current application and believe the listed Theatr Clwyd could be refurbished to ensure continued use without such major interventions.”
In a statement last year, Theatr Clwyd’s executive director Liam Evans-Ford and artistic director Tamara Harvey rejected the criticisms, insisting the designs had been ‘carefully considered’ as the 45-year-old building ‘nears its end of life’.
They said: “The redevelopment proposals, similar to those approved in 2019, are carefully balanced to align with a business plan that offers Theatr Clwyd a sustainable and resilient future and have been approved and funded by Flintshire County Council, the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government.
“Without this version of the scheme, Theatr Clwyd’s operations will become financially unviable and, in turn, all of the economic, cultural and community benefits identified as key by all funding partners will be lost.
“… conservation needs to be balanced with our fundamental responsibility to future generations. We cannot and should not invest in projects or buildings that offer further harm to our planet.”
Theatr Clwyd’s website says: “Our redeveloped building will safeguard the creation of theatre in Wales. The world-class facilities for making costume, sets and props will match the work created on our stages ensuring a long, sustainable and successful future.
“Our redevelopment will make our building open and accessible. Fit-for-purpose spaces will enable us to increase opportunities for learning, teaching and social change, while the potential for increased earned income will help protect access initiatives.”
In addition to improvements to the technical facilities in the two auditoria, two new rehearsal rooms will be constructed, including a full-height room that can take a rehearsal for the Anthony Hopkins Theatre stage, the Clwyd Room will be refurbished with the floor raised to all one level.
Bids must be submitted by 27 May.
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