Process Begins to Find a Provider for a New Theatre in Reading

THE FIRST steps towards finding a partner provider for a new theatre for Reading have started.

The ball has started rolling on Reading Borough Council’s long-standing ambition to create a large new performing arts venue, with the launch of a preliminary market consultation on Friday 29th July.

The key purpose of the market consultation is to establish market interest to deliver and operate a new theatre, serving Reading and the wider region.

The proposed new theatre would need to be funded by the delivery partner, rather than the Council, who would facilitate development by providing the land on which it could be built.

This initial process will allow a better understanding of the proposal’s commercial attractiveness, financial sustainability and help shape future requirements and specifications.

At this stage no site has been selected for the potential new theatre. There is a parallel process where sites will be examined in detail to help identify the most viable venue.

Whilst still popular and attracting capacity audiences, the 1970’s built Hexagon Theatre has a number of limitations due to its age and design. The building is increasingly expensive to maintain and costs to keep the venue in good condition are expected to increase significantly in the coming years.

Paul Gittings, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Sport, said: “This represents the first step in our long standing ambition to build a new theatre for Reading which would cement its reputation as an artistic and cultural centre in the region.”

“The start of the procurement route this month is a key landmark in what will be a lengthy process. The severe financial limitations the Council is under means we need to look at creative ways of delivering modern new local facilities and finding a delivery partner to fund a new theatre is one way of doing that. The Council for its part would provide the land for the new theatre to be built.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

The preliminary market consultation can be viewed here:
https://in-tendhost.co.uk/readingbc/aspx/Tenders/Current

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