The Courtyard’s capital expansion project Transform The Yard has been officially handed over from construction company C J Bayliss.
The project includes a redesign of The Courtyard’s front of house area, making the Box Office more accessible and part of a new retail space. The shop will eventually sell locally-made arts and crafts. The Café Bar area and first floor dining space have been significantly extended and an outside terrace created.
The most notable change is a large two-storey multi-purpose room. This versatile space will be used as an additional performance space, as well as for conferences, meetings, workshops and more.
The Courtyard received initial funding for the expansion works from Arts Council England in 2018. Since, they have also secured funding from Garfield Weston Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Bernard Sunley Foundation, Brailsford Trust, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation and The Eveson Charitable Trust, as well as vital public support, to ensure the project was a success.
Transform The Yard was delivered by Hereford construction company C J Bayliss and project managed by Bruce Freeman, a member of The Courtyard’s board and Chair of the Development Committee.
Ian Archer, Chief Executive & Artistic Director at The Courtyard, said: “In a year with very few positives, we are delighted and proud to announce that the building work for Transform The Yard is now complete. The improvements to our venue will provide an exciting new dining experience and enable us to build on our work with local artists. It will allow us to further expand our education and outreach programme and work with partner organisations by bringing ideas, creative drive and exciting new programmes to our audiences.
The development of The Courtyard offers us sustainability and resilience and allows us to be more innovative, which will also benefit audiences, residents, community groups, schools, resident and visiting artists, and conference delegates.
We couldn’t have done this without everyone who supported our ‘Transform The Yard’ fundraising campaign. A huge thank you for enabling us to bring an exciting new look Courtyard to the people of Herefordshire.”
“It has taken over 2 years to deliver this project and a lot of hard work has been done by the Development Committee members behind the scenes.” Says Chair of the Development Committee Bruce Freeman “Thousands of emails have been exchanged, hundreds of drawings examined, hours spent on the phone, dozens of meetings attended, and critical, strategic decisions have had to be made – and all of us are volunteers. It has been a difficult journey at times, but we are proud of what has been achieved and, like everyone else who has seen the newly transformed Courtyard, are absolutely delighted with the outcome. Credit is also due to CJ Bayliss, our chosen contractor, who delivered the building works in such a timely manner, and to such high quality, despite the obvious difficulties imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. We look forward very much to sharing our new building with you in 2021.”
Although the structural build is complete, The Courtyard are still working hard to fit out of the new spaces ahead of reopening, which will hopefully be February 2021 subject to government advice. The Arts Centre has been closed since March 2020 due to the ongoing effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
For more information about Transform The Yard or to make a donation visit courtyard.org.uk/transformtheyard.