By enclosing a former alleyway between the buildings, a place for a new welcoming entrance, box office and circulation space with bar and café was created. The focal point of the new ‘street’ as it’s affectionately known, is the light, airy atrium and stairwell with lift connecting all four floors. The original performance auditorium was remodelled and expanded, with a balcony added to increase its capacity whilst, importantly, maintaining sufficient space for cabaret tables in a nod to the theatre’s origins touring club venues.
The refreshed and expanded facilities enabled the theatre to welcome a greater number of writers, artists and shows to use its space and helped stimulate new opportunities for up-and-coming freelance creatives and technicians. Subsequently, its growing public profile also helped Live Theatre to build beneficial relationships with other successful local business– including with the 21 Hospitality Group, which now runs two food and drink businesses from the Live Theatre premises – The Broad Chare and St Vincent.
Live Theatre's roots in social enterprise remain strong and unshakeable. It’s still fiercely dedicated to making theatre and performing arts accessible to all. You can buy a ticket to a show there for as little as six pounds.
Jacqui proudly tells us about the jewel in Live Theatre’s crown – its Youth Theatre. “It’s the region’s largest free theatre group for young people and we currently have 172 members between the ages of 10 and 25 who enjoy our weekly sessions. Some come to act and perform; some come to write and create or to help build their confidence. It’s a great place to make friends and socialise.” Back in the mid-2000s the Youth Theatre member numbers were nearer to 20.