News about our new home!

Posted on 24 November 2010

Plans have now been confirmed for the Library Theatre Company’s new home and we are delighted to announce our brilliant and exciting new opportunity.

From 2014 a brand new building situated at the top of First Street*, will be The Library Theatre’s permanent base.

And it won’t just be a theatre. Cornerhouse are looking for a new home too and our two organisations will be working in partnership in this new world-class arts facility.

The building will boast a 500 seat-theatre, up to five cinemas, 600 sq m of contemporary gallery space, an education space and informal and outdoor performance spaces as well as an impressive café and state-of-the-art back of house facilities. It will enable LTC and Cornerhouse to work collaboratively, creating a major cross-artform production centre and ‘arts factory’.

Investigations into the refurbishment of the Theatre Royal, (the original proposal for the LTC’s relocation), and further architectural work have proved that it would not be possible for the building to match the ambitions of the company.

The relocation to the new cultural facility will allow The Library Theatre Company to enrich the theatre programme and extend and broaden the community and education offer.

Chris Honer, Artistic Director of the Library Theatre Company, said: “This is terrific news for Manchester audiences and the Library Theatre Company. It will enable the company to develop and expand its work and achieve its aspirations. The artistic potential of the collaboration with Cornerhouse is immense.”

Dave Moutrey, director and chief executive of Cornerhouse, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to create a unique, audience-focused centre for the arts and we are thrilled to be at the heart of it. We’re looking forward to collaborating with the Library Theatre Company to make the best use of our skills and resources to develop a financially sustainable artistic and social hub, that secures Manchester’s position as a leading destination on the UK’s cultural map.”

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure for Manchester City Council said “These are extraordinarily exciting proposals which will create a world-class new cultural attraction. Combining the undoubted strengths and growing audiences of the Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company will allow the two companies to expand and flourish.”

* First Street site – near the junction of Albion Street and Whitworth Street West, through the railway arch opposite the old Hacienda site.

Comments on News about our new home!

  1. So instead of using the chance to resurect a beautiful building, bringing it back to the theatre fold, we will be presented with a concrete shed (maybe from the same stable that brought us the upturned breezeblock look of the Beetham tower) which will have massive time and cost overruns, deliver bags of profit to the construction companies and be a "major cross-artform production centre and ‘arts factory’" rather than a theatre......

    Excuse my cynicism but for those of us who loved the intimacy and warmth of the old Library theatre the fact that we will wait in line at some mixed-art multiplex hardly fills me with joy.

    And am I alone in thinking that if I have to use a "cultural facility" I should wash my hands afterwards?

    I wish the project well and I really hope that my fears are unfounded but I can't say this announcement makes my heart race faster in anticpation of something special.

    Said Ian Roberts From Manchester at 11:18am on 24th Nov 2010

  2. Hello Ian

    Thank you for your response, its always good to know that people have a positive passion for the work of the company.

    I'd like to clarify a couple of points on our relocation. Financially and practically it has not been possible to revive the Theatre Royal at this stage. The development was not going to be just a theatre but a commercial venture as well and in this economic climate it has simply become impossible to deliver this project in a practical and affordable way.

    I know that Manchester City Council will continue to look to revive this building for Manchester.

    With regard to the new First St site, this will be a landmark building and will form a central core of the redevelopment of this part of the city. Having personally been involved in the redevopment of the Royal Exchange, The ENO, the Almeida Theatre and Plymouth's landmark TR2 I am confident that we will open on time, on budget and with every possible opportunity seized with the money available. It is not intended as a multiplex site but as a major cultural statement not normally seen in the UK.

    The opportunity of building a new theatre auditorium allows us to increase the seating capacity slightly, but the intimacy that the Library Theatre is famous for will be maintained.

    We are hugely excited about what this project will do for the Library Theatre Company and thanks for wishing us well.

    Said Paul Clay - General Manager of LTC at 15:40pm on 24th Nov 2010

  3. "Terrific news for Manchester audiences??" I don't think so!

    I'm horrified to hear where the new theatre is going to be. Before you closed, I, and many others, was invited to a presentation and told it was moving to the Theatre Royal. We were delighted, because it was so close to Central Library that we could use the same modes of transport that we were used to.

    Now it seems we have to trek out from St. Peter's Square tram stop to the Bridgewater Hall and beyond. Not a pleasant propsect in bad weather. I probably won't bother.

    I am so disappointed.

    Said Tricia Neal From Manchester at 20:43pm on 5th Dec 2010

  4. It's a real shame that the Theatre Royal has been turned down as a venue and returned to its former glory.

    Said Hollie From Sale, Manchester at 23:48pm on 8th Dec 2010

  5. If you can keep the intimacy of the old Library Theatre then you may keep some of us - hopefully all of us - coming to your productions. After all, it was the feeling of being part of what was on stage that made the Library special; something not equalled anywhere else in Manchester, except possibly the Green Room.

    It's a shame the Theatre Royal couldn't match the ambitions of the LTC, as you say Paul, but let's hope for Manchester's sake it can match someone's.

    Said Stuart From Wigan at 14:54pm on 9th Dec 2010

  6. Another disappointed Library Theatre-goer. Further away from restaurants and bars for pre-theatre dining, as well as a dreadful location for public transport. Just please tell me it will be better designed than the truly appalling Lowry, which includes a theatre (the Quays) where a good proportion of the audience have such restricted views of the stage that I simply won't buy tickets for plays there any more.

    Said Jo From Manchester at 15:04pm on 9th Dec 2010

  7. I read that the development will include shops and bars as well as improvements to transport facilities in the area and that they would design it to keep the theatre space intimate. It is only a few min walk from the old building after all! Think of Spinningfields, who knew that part of town existed before the last year or so - the city is expanding its walls and this looks like just another step in its growth. Shame about Theatre Royal but if it couldnn't happen ...

    Said Dave From Manchester at 15:12pm on 9th Dec 2010

  8. I have to say I am dissapointed by the feedback you are getting. But it is to be expected. People tend to hate change!

    I loved the old Library Theatre venue... and I love the Cornerhouse venue even more. Saying that, the Library venue was tatty outside the actual theatre... and the space to get a coffee was nasty... If you do it right, this new development could be a wonderful project. Can't wait to see the design and plans.

    @ Tricia Neal
    Tricia... you dont have to get off the tram at St Peter's Square... stay on an extra stop (or get off one earlier) at GMEX... down the steps and you'll be there...

    @ Jo
    First Street will have restuarents and bars too... so dont worry!

    Everyone, check out the first street intranet site... it is real exciting for Manchester as a whole...

    Best of luck... you are not simply re-locating, but also helping rejuvanate an area of Manchester. Instead of this place just being offices / housing / shops... it will have an arts complex. BRILL...

    Said Dave From Manchester at 15:25pm on 9th Dec 2010

  9. I agree with the others - I was looking forward to the Theatre Royal being used again so I'm very disappointed that this is not going to happen. I am not fond of the Whitworth Street end of town so find this new location off-putting.

    Said Linda Smith From Bury at 15:28pm on 9th Dec 2010

  10. It seems to me that we have trusted the Library Theatre Company to entertain us for so very long and they have rarely if ever let us down; I'm absolutely confident that we can continue to trust their judgement now and look forward to a brilliant future. 'For all that has been thanks... and for all that will be yes!'

    Said Jonathan Carmyllie at 15:32pm on 9th Dec 2010

  11. About time! The old Library theatre was tatty. The toilets stunk and the doors didn't lock properly. Also the coffee area was dismal.

    Said Sam From Stockport at 16:22pm on 9th Dec 2010

  12. I am all for creating an improved arts scene in Manchester, but the joy of both the Library theatre and Cornerhouse is that they are in older buildings that are quirky, intimate, architecturally interesting and in the heart of the City. I will be sad to see both operations moving to a modern building. If it must be a new building, something more Central would be preferable, around Peters Square.

    Said dave tilmouth at 16:26pm on 9th Dec 2010

  13. I miss the Library Theatre - the quality and variety of the productions and yes the venue was a little tired but it was quirky, a visit to the bar like a trip in a time machine - those cubes for seats - but it was part of the history of our city and it was in a great location and the seats were comfortable - I was devastated when I knew it was to close and pledged to do every production in the last year (which I did) and the wait until 2014 - couldnt this have been done in a more seamless more co-ordinated way - whatever happened to planning! - I was consoled by the promise that we would find a new home at the Theatre Royal - restoring a magnificent Victorian building and finding a new and appropriate home for our favourite theatre company would be worth the wait and just around the corner - perfect - then I hear the plans to hold a production of Hard Times at Murrays Mills - things are looking up - but now this news is just deflating - I cannot get excited about it for all the reasons stated and have absolutely no idea how people with mobility problems can get down those steps at GMEX - is this a joke?

    Said Barbara Garvey From Sale at 18:18pm on 9th Dec 2010

  14. The walk from st peters sq to the new site is no further than the harbour city tram stop is to the Lowry and everyone uses that for them!!! Everyone said the Lowry was going to be difficult to access but people flock there. At least this one will be nearer civilisation!?!?

    Said Sara From Bury at 18:58pm on 9th Dec 2010

  15. Why all this negativity? I love Victorian buildings, but I want my theatre experience to explore today's issues.The theatre is useless if it's just a heritage experience. I've been to nearlt every Library Theatre production for thirty years, and it's been the work of the company not the building that has kept me coming back. I welcome the news of the new building. It's accessible via G-Mex Station just as the Bridgewater Hall is. There's already one terrific building adjacent, James Stirling's for the British Council, let's try to get another one !

    Said Bob Auld From New Mills, Derbyshire at 03:14am on 10th Dec 2010

  16. Without wishing to appear negative, I can not see Cornerhouse & the Library Theatre under the same roof. They are two disparate organisations & I feel somehow it will to the detriment of Library Theatre. Will it have its own Artistic Director or will this role fall to the director of Cornerhouse? If the later then I can not see how the theatre can continue as a venue producing its own shows without a full-time director to steer the theatre & direct most of the productions. I fear that it will be a receiving venue on the same lines as the Green Room & may lose its popular audience. If the new venue is to be called Cornerhouse how is the theatre to keep its identity?

    I also wonder why a building (the Theatre Royal)can not be returned to its original purpose- too expensive to shift the Disco perhaps?

    Said RK From Eccles at 14:09pm on 14th Dec 2010

  17. Just read this! All questions answered from council website ... all pretty clear I think.

    Said Chris From Levenshulme at 12:42pm on 15th Dec 2010

  18. It's marvellous news, the theatre has wanted a new and suitable home for years, and now it will have one.

    Said Andrew Fowler From Manchester at 13:17pm on 29th Dec 2010

  19. THE PHOENIX - Mancy's new and vibrant arts centre.
    Alas, one can but dream ! But, just imagine it - the old London Road Fire Station, cleaned up (inside and out), given a glass roof over the triangular court in the middle. Yes ?
    The building be a 'work of art' in itself ! Too late ?

    Said Robert Taggart From Gatley at 15:05pm on 6th Jan 2011

  20. I think the new home for The Library Theatre has great potential for linking/intergrating the arts. The Lowry does it brilliantly so why not an arts centre in Manchester? My wife and I will continue to be regular patrons.

    Said Glyn Young From Handforth Cheshire at 17:27pm on 2nd Feb 2011

  21. I have lived in London for some time, so do not get to see LTC shows as often as I used to. However, they remain one of my favourite companies and I sometimes come back to Manchester to see their productions.
    I have such fond memories of the Library and its theatre. I will miss the old venue, even though it was getting tatty and in need of work.
    A shame that Theatre Royal is not an option - another fine building. However, as long as it is not designed on the cheap, then the new venue may be just what the company needs. AS LONG as it is not done on the cheap. That will be the deciding factor - are we getting a new proper theatre, or a shed with some upholstered benching (like the Green Room venue - is that still open? I haven't been there since the 80s).
    The company can share a space with whomever, but must make sure it maintains its own identity. The Cornerhouse was (and I assume still is) very pretentious and arty "dahling". The two companies must keep their own identity whilst sharing a bed and not become a married couple!!

    Said Darren From London at 07:18am on 27th Jun 2011

  22. What a great great shame the FANTASTIC and utterly brilliant opportunity to move to the old Theatre Royal on Peter street,( still within a short walk from the library) has been refused to move to bloody first street !!! Manchester Council have no idea what to do with beautiful Architecture..oh hang on, yes they do, lets have this Theatre Royal- the oldest Theatre building in Manchester as...erm - a nightclub...We all despair- who are these people who decide these things!!!???? furious

    Said andrea at 11:01am on 19th Oct 2011

  23. The more I read about the First Street project: cinema screens, cafe/bars, retail facilities etc , the more it seems like the Print Works mark two. No thankyou I have a simple solution to the Library Theatre company; return to the central library building

    Yes, I go to the Odeaon at the Printworks. But we don't want another venue that accommodates hen parties and gangs of young lads on a night out.

    Said Alan Maguire at 21:50pm on 16th Oct 2012

  24. Hello - The Library Theatre is the heart beat of Manchester Theatre, because it gives local talent a chance. (Yeah, we all know about the other place that doesn't, but lets not go there for now.) I was so lucky to get my first acting job at the Library Theatre, thanks to Howard Lloyd Lewis, but when I subsequently went on to work at Theatre Royal Windsor and Orange Tree Richmond and Watermill, Newbury... I grew to realize that the Library Theatre stage WAS limited... in comparison. And I welcome the move into a beautiful new stage area, where creative people can really experiment with new technology in design, in directing and acting. I am full of optimism that the Library Theatre will continue to use local talent and go from strength to strength.
    There is one thing that I require from this new Arts facility however, and that is a Vocational Post Grad training/showcase one year course. The city badly needs one. Can Paul Clay can back to me so that I can share my ideas about this? thanks.

    Said Robin Brunskill From South of Manchester at 00:14am on 1st Dec 2013

  25. Hi Robin - Paul doesn't work for us any longer. We've got lots of plans for the new building - keep an eye on our website where you'll get all the most up to date news about the programme for HOME.

    Said Library Theatre Company at 11:26am on 9th Dec 2013

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