An ambitious £850,000 revamp of a South Lakes arts venue is due to be launched.
Brewery Arts’ project aims to see the Kendal venue become the county’s first centre for cross artform innovation.
Thanks to the refurbishment, Brewery Arts will be able to bring together film, live performance, hybrid and livestream events, talent development and digital media production in one location.
The fully refurbished venue will include a modern two-screen cinema complex and a new purpose-built boutique digital lounge for additional immersive screenings and gaming.
There will also be a redesign of the restaurant, bar and all public spaces, with new signs, branding and contemporary interiors.
The theatre, music venue, creative studios and warehouse will be upgraded with the latest technology, for world-class live performances, audio visual presentations, creative learning and interactive exhibitions.
New facilities for music and film production will also be available, placing a new digital-led talent development and production hub at the heart of the centre’s activities.
These will be launched with new programmes of residencies, workshops, community engagement and outreach projects, to nurture the next generation of artists, creators and innovators.
Live streaming equipment has also been fitted throughout the venue, allowing events such as live music and theatre, festivals, conferences and weddings to be broadcast from the building to digital platforms and viewed anywhere in the world.
Together with strengthened digital infrastructure across the site, this will transform the quality and scope of the services on offer to cultural partners and corporate clients.
The project was supported with £850,000 capital grant funding, secured before the pandemic and designated for improvements to the building and its infrastructure.
The funds were awarded by Arts Council England, Cumbria LEP, South Lakeland District Council, Cumbria County Council, Kendal Town Council, Brewery Arts Centre Endowment Trust, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, anonymous gifts and individual donations through a successful public appeal.
Miriam Randall, chief executive and artistic director of Brewery Arts, said: “This project puts cultural innovation and talent development at the heart of our work and breathes new life into our venue as we approach our 50th anniversary.
“When we reopen it will be a space for everyone to enjoy, a creative hub at the heart of community life that develops and showcases some of the most exciting artists and creatives working today.
“Thanks to the generous support from our funding partners and our fantastic local community, we can face the future with confidence.”
Jo Lappin, chief executive of Cumbria LEP, added: “We were delighted to provide £100,000 of funding to support Brewery Arts’ Our Digital Future project, which will help Cumbria to develop next generation skills and new jobs by providing a state-of-the-art facility in Kendal.
“Importantly, this will play a part in addressing the digital divide that Cumbria is currently experiencing and create both the skills and appetite to address this gap, going forward.”
Councillor Robin Ashcroft, portfolio holder for economy, culture and leisure at South Lakeland District Council, said: “This is tremendous news and the team at the Brewery are to be heartily congratulated.
“This arts centre is very much at the heart of South Lakeland’s cultural and creative life – providing immense social and economic benefits for all of us.
“It’s particularly impressive that they’ve stuck to their objectives and delivered on their ambitions during the worst of times most of us have ever known. I’m very clear that they will play a key role as our whole district emerges from the current crisis.”