Major rebuilding project will take a year
Earlsfield based theatre company Tara Arts is embarking on a year long project that will see its premises transformed into a new national hub for the production and presentation of cross-cultural theatre, as well as offering a welcoming location for the local community.
A breaking ground ceremony was attended by local MP Sadiq Khan, Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth Richard Field and Leader of Wandsworth Council Cllr Ravi Govindia, and marks the start of a major building project led by RHWL, the architects behind the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre and Cast Doncaster.
The new building, on the site Tara Arts has occupied since 1983 and is due to open in December 2016 will offer:
• A centre of excellence for cross-cultural theatre, with a building inspired by a fusion of architectural styles from England and India
• A programme of theatre that will offer audiences from across London the best cross cultural contemporary & classical theatre, including work created on the premises
• Inspired by outdoor performance spaces in India, the first-ever ‘earth stage’ floor in Europe, in a 100-seat auditorium, an 84% increase on current auditorium capacity
• A dedicated space for artists to develop and share new work, with a particular focus on BAME artists
• Space for local community groups to develop their creativity and for local entrepreneurs to host meetings in a unique environment
• A fully accessible building with an enlarged foyer including a café/bar available to the local community and box office facilities open through the day
The new building will be contemporary in design, but draw on the building’s current Edwardian structure and will be energy-efficient, facilitating a 27% saving in energy costs, using sustainable materials throughout.
During the closure period, Tara Arts will focus on touring, including Black Theatre Live, a recently formed consortium of eight regional venues that will work to ensure sustainable touring of BAME theatre across England. The first production will be an Indian-influenced Macbeth directed by Tara Arts Artistic Director Jatinder Verma which is set to tour from February to May 2015.
The venue will reopen in December 2015 to host Tara Arts annual pantomime followed by the launch of a new season to include new work from Tara Arts and visiting companies.
The building project has been supported by Arts Council England, Viridor Credits, Foyle Foundation, City Bridge Trust, Cockayne Foundation and over 1,400 individual benefactors
Tara Arts Artistic Director Jatinder Verma said: “I am thrilled we are breaking ground to start the next phase in Tara Arts’ journey- building a theatre dedicated to reflecting the infinite variety of modern Britain. The new building will offer the chance for Tara to become a producing house for the first time, creating a national hub for cross cultural theatre.”
December 2, 2014