The Newcastle-based performing arts charity Liberdade has signed a new 50-year lease on Gosforth Civic Theatre, which secures funding for building improvements from Youth Investment fund, Arts Council England, the Wolfson Foundation, the Foyle Foundation, the Clothworkers Foundation, and the National Lottery Community Fund.
Rob Huggins is the CEO of Liberdade, which he set up in 2003. The charity moved to Gosforth Civic Theatre in 2016 to create a truly inclusive space for performance, music, and events, at the heart of the community.
Rob said: “Gosforth Civic Theatre was created by our learning-disabled company members to provide a cultural building that brings everyone together. Our company members are the reason why this community has a theatre, and we hope that realisation helps to deliver our mission of raising everyone’s expectations about what people with learning disabilities can achieve.
“Improving the building and facilities at the theatre will allow us to achieve that mission while giving the local community an arts venue and community to be proud of.
“The new, longer lease has allowed us to secure funding from a wider range of sources to make this project a reality. It was an absolute pleasure to work with the team at Muckle LLP to extend the lease, and we thank them for all their hard work.”
The new lease was secured by Richard Nixon from Muckle LLP. Richard, a partner at the firm’s top-ranked real estate team, worked to extend the existing lease to 50 years, which allowed Liberdade to secure funding for building improvements.
He said: “It was a pleasure to work with Rob and the team to extend the lease on this iconic local building and to help secure the funding for its future.
“Now the charity has secured funding they can improve their base both for themselves and for the wider community to enjoy for many years to come.”
The work on the building on Regent Farm Road is set to take place in two stages. The first phase, which has already started, sees the auditorium roof replaced, insulation and sound-proofing installed, and the existing bar area expanded with plenty of space for training.
Phase two will see an extension added to the side of the existing building, housing a brand new community space, and offices for staff, finished off with exterior landscaping.
Although the theatre has already closed and work is underway, normal activities are rescheduled locally and the building is set to reopen to the public in summer 2023.
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