Leeds City Varieties renovation works move forward

2 December 2009 17:33 - BAM Construct UK Ltd

(Press release Leeds City Council:) Leeds, 2 December 2009 - A project to renovate and conserve one of the oldest music halls in the country, the Leeds City Varieties, moves forward this week as it is 'handed over' to construction contractors. Over the coming weeks, builders will prepare to start work on a major refurbishment project to bring the music hall back to its former glory. Designs are based, as far as possible, on the building as it was in the late 19th century.

The work involves restoration of the auditorium, improved stage and backstage facilities, additional toilets, improved access including more ground floor foyer space, relocated box office and installation of a public lift to serve all levels of the auditorium. Following a review of the original designs, it's now proposed to install a lift which will be used to transport heavy equipment to the stage area.

Council chiefs will be updated on the refurbishment project next week. A report, which will be presented to the council's executive board, explains that time has been spent negotiating a legal agreement, carrying out an archaeological survey and signing a construction contract with BAM Construction. The refurbished building is scheduled to open in late Spring/Summer 2011.

Councillor Andrew Carter Leeds City Council leader and executive board member for Development and Regeneration, said: "It's good to hear that the project is taking shape. We are committed to our plans which will see a new lease of life for the City Varieties. It's such an important facility not just for its performances but its architecture and social history means that it can also be enjoyed as a learning resource too. The Varieties are one of the city's crown jewels."

Councillor John Procter, Chair of the Leeds Grand Theatre Board, said: "It's vital we move forward with this project and I'm pleased that progress is being made. The City Varieties plays such an important part in the heritage of our city and with the recent completion of Phase 2 of the Grand Theatre works, we are providing the city with fantastic entertainment and cultural facilities."

The refurbishment scheme has been made possible through funds of £5.325m from Leeds City Council, the £2.739m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £1.261m contribution from the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Ltd which is being raised through a fundraising campaign. Anyone wishing to contribute should visit www.cityvarieties.co.uk or contact 0113 391 7777 or City Varieties Music Hall, 24 Eastgate, Leeds LS2 7JL.