Live Theatre announces LiveWorks Quayside development project

Monday, February 3, 2014

Live Theatre announces its plan to develop LiveWorks, a proposed new £10 million capital development scheme on Newcastle’s Quayside. Live Theatre have purchased the last remaining prime Quayside plot of land and buildings alongside the theatre and plan to create new commercial office space, a new public park and a children and young people’s writing centre.

Once complete, LiveWorks will create new revenue streams for the core creative and educational work of Live Theatre, building resilience for the Theatre for the future, and transforming this part of the Quayside.

The purchase of the land and buildings and the development of the site has been supported by a prudential loan of £6 million from Newcastle City Council and a £1.73 million grant confirmed from the North East European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme 2007 to 2013. £8 million has already been secured to allow Live Theatre to purchase the land and buildings next to the Theatre, and for the development of additional office space on the Quayside, with other statutory and private sector fundraising being sought.

Jim Beirne, Chief Executive, Live Theatre said:

“We are delighted that the support from ERDF and Newcastle City Council has allowed us to purchase the site for LiveWorks. We are excited to move the project into the next phase of design and build. And having just completed a wonderful 40th anniversary year, we are even more excited at the prospect of the thousands of artists, children and young people that will enjoy all these opportunities for the next 40 years.”

Additional fundraising is taking place to realise a children’s a young people’s writing centre, to inspire young people through creative writing and literacy projects.

Paul Callaghan, Chair, Live Theatre and Chair of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, added;

"This wonderful project is not just significant for Live Theatre but also for Newcastle and Gateshead as a whole. It will be an amazing place for people of all ages, but particularly for children and young people. This key site has stood empty for too long and we are delighted that we are going to be able to transform it into something so special."

Nick Forbes, Leader, Newcastle City Council said:

"I'm really glad that the City Council has helped Live Theatre to make this exciting new project a reality. It demonstrates our continuing commitment to Newcastle's cultural scene despite the ravages of austerity and underlines our shared belief that culture creates investment and jobs, as well as a great quality of life."

Live Theatre is a national leader in developing new strategies for developing income and assets for the charity. LiveWorks will join The Broad Chare pub, online playwriting course www.beaplaywright.com and The Schoolhouse, office space for creative and digital businesses, as one of Live Theatre’s capital and digital creative enterprises, increasing its future income through additional new unrestricted funds.

Peter Bazalgette, chair of Arts Council England, described Live Theatre’s creative enterprises an example of ‘intelligent capital spending’, creating additional commercial income streams enabling it to grow and sustain its work in the production of new plays, developing creative talent and learning and participation.

The land being acquired is probably the last remaining prime riverside site on the Newcastle Quayside and the commercial properties immediately adjacent. The acquisition of the Quayside frontage offers Live Theatre the opportunity to have visibility on the Quayside itself.

LiveWorks development will create:

• A new landmark building on Newcastle’s Quayside with approximately 1500sqm net of highly desirable premium office space with river views

• New commercial opportunities and visibility on the busy Quayside thoroughfare for Live Theatre

• Refurbishment of a Grade II listed Almshouse into a new children and young people’s writing centre

• A landscaped green space, a new pocket park at the centre of the site with public pedestrian access from the Quayside and a public and performance space managed and programmed by Live Theatre in daily use by tenants, neighbours and the public and transforming this part of the Quayside.

• An additional revenue for the core creative and education work of Live Theatre, and a social, cultural and commercial return to build resilience for Live Theatre for the future.

Read about the LiveWorks development in The Journal and watch a video about it on ITV Tyne Tees Tonight.

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