Merton Council Funds Major Theatre Improvements

18 July 2005

Merton Council Funds Major Theatre Improvements

Merton Council is to fund a major £13,500 improvement scheme at the New Wimbledon Studio.

A sign of closer working relationships between the council and the theatre, the grant to the Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust will convert the studio into a multi-purpose venue with flexible facilities. Features will include the installation of new lightweight, tiered and removable seating; a removable dancefloor and freestanding ballet barres, allowing the space to be used as a dance studio, a rehearsal room or a studio performing space.

Owned by the Merton Council and managed by the Ambassador Theatre Group, the New Wimbledon Studio is one of the most exciting fringe venues in the capital, supporting local arts community initiatives, including the theatre’s own Education and Outreach programme.

The New Wimbledon Studio will close for the refurbishment on Saturday 13th August, after a double-bill from Green Monkey and Unpacked Theatre Company. The new-look venue will re-open on Thursday 8th September, with a three-week run of the musical farce Lucky Stiff presented by the company Lucky Stuff, and with the launch of NeWT, the theatre’s brand new youth group.

Funded by the Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust as part of its Education and Outreach programme, NeWT is designed to provide 11 – 16 year olds with experience of all aspects of the theatre. It will culminate in regular performances in the Studio.

An independent charitable trust set up to facilitate accessibility to the arts at the theatre, the Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust aims to provide all sections of the community with access to live theatre and its related arts with a focus on young people.

Andrew Judge, Leader of Merton Council said:

“The Studio already provides rich entertainment to theatre goers. Now the rebuilt Studio will be even better providing a flexible, multi-purpose venue. We have decided to fund the refurbishment because we believe arts facilities of the highest quality should be available locally.”

Mike Rappolt, Chairman of the Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust said:

“Theatre touches hearts and engages minds. We are delighted that with the help of Merton Council we have been able to help improve facilities for our local community.”

Karin Gartzke, Chief Executive of the New Wimbledon Theatre & Studio said:

“We are thrilled that the London Borough of Merton has supported the refurbishment of the New Wimbledon Studio through the Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust. The Studio has always been at the