Liverpool’s Royal Court has worked with architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris to create a scheme that has modernised and restored the Royal Court, making it a better environment for our audience.
Fundraising for the scheme included a £1 per ticket levy that raised over one million pounds.
The total cost of the scheme was £11.9m and the work was be done in phases so that the theatre remained open to the public as much as possible.
Act One was completed in June 2012 and included new seating, improved toilet facilities and disabled access.
Act Two, was completed in 2016, worked on the entrance, creating a new foyer space and refreshing the outside of the building. A lift was installed to create easy accessibility to every level.
Act Three focused on the upper circle and balcony levels of the theatre creating better public spaces, new toilet facilities, improved access and better food and drink facilities. A new 150 seat basement venue was developed and better dressing rooms for actors and backstage staff. It also involved converting the building next door into the Courtyard Bar & Restaurant.
Act Four is a longer term plan to adjoin the Courtyard Bar & Kitchen next door to the theatre in two stages.
Restoration and Preservation
Support from the Heritage Lottery Fund enabled the Trust to start the first substantial renovation work in the theatre for nearly 75 years.
Work focussed on the auditorium to make maximum impact to audiences who were desperate for new seats, better bar facilities and improved access.
On 1st March 2012, Nobles Construction of Liverpool began a 16 weeks programme to renovate the Art Deco auditorium, transform public facilities in the basement and create permanent disabled access to the stalls area of the theatre.
The seating was supplied by Evertaut who have created this case study.
The programme was completed on time and to budget.
The Theatre reopened on 29th June 2012 with a new play written by Dave Kirby, Reds and Blues.
Phase two of the Royal Court’s refurbishment saw the extension of the building to fill the space currently covered by the canopy. This has allowed us to move Box Office to the front of the building and free up the current Box Office space to be used as a multi-purpose area. The new entrance is a striking addition whilst still being in keeping with the current Art Deco style. We have added lifts to all areas of the theatre.
The Welcome Project has created 480 square metres of new foyer space and dramatically improved the public realm outside the theatre. It has enabled us to install a lift throughout the building from basement to balcony giving people with mobility difficulties access to the whole building. It has created a terrace at first floor level, new box office facilities and a new welcome space which people can enjoy during the day as well as in the evening before and after shows.
(The Royal Court Theatre Welcome Project has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and part-funded by a capital loan from Liverpool City Council)
This phase of work was completed in Autumn 2015.
We would like to thank our wonderful audiences, fantastic staff, dedicated Trustees and exceptional partners.
Act Three was completed in January 2018. During this final phase of renovations we created a new, 150 seat, basement venue which operates independently of the main theatre. We also improved the balcony for audiences by creating new bar and toilets facilities. There is a new cut through into the balcony, giving audiences easier access to the balcony and a better experience when watching the show with larger, more comfortable seat and more legroom.
Backstage there are improvements to our dressing rooms, bringing them up to modern day standards with shower facilities and heating. We have re-instated the backstage lift to make all dressing rooms fully accessible. We have renovated and upgraded the stage area by installing new communication systems and fly-bars to increase the size and range of shows the theatre can present. The original revolve stage which is one of the largest outside of London was restored.
The contractors for this phase of the refurbishment were John Turner Construction Group.
Established in 1907 they have built some of the most prominent buildings in the North West and have maintained many basic construction principles in areas such as in-house skills and training as well as bespoke manufactured joinery.
Originally we had four phases of work planned to complete the renovation of the theatre.
In 2015, an opportunity arose to purchase the Penny Farthing public house next door to the theatre. This had long been an eye sore at a key gateway for visitors and tourists arriving at Lime Street Station from other parts of the UK.
During Act Four we transformed the existing building and opened it as Courtyard Bar & Kitchen to supplement current pre-show food provision in the theatre in autumn 2017.
In the future, the intention is to join the existing Penny Farthing building onto the theatre at third floor level thus creating the additional backstage facilities and spaces for the Youth Theatre and Community Choir to meet. This replaces our original Act lV which featured ‘pods’ on the side of the building and a new rooftop bar.