Blackfriars Theatre Embark on a New Project!

Thursday 12th May

Blackfriars Arts Centre Ltd to receive £150,000 from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme

Blackfriars Arts Centre among 66 cultural organisations across the country to benefit from a share of over £22.7 million from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme 

This award will help transform our technical offering and accessibility, as well as an improvement in our environmental impact.

Despite the pandemic 2021 was a busy year for Blackfriars Theatre as it embarked on a major Ventilation system install in its Auditorium - bringing the venue upto date to meet and exceed the requirements for a safe indoor environment post pandemic. The ventilation system was already on the radar as our new fundraising project after we completed our last major project in 2018. 

New Ventilation SystemThe new ventilation system is quite a sight to behold as the stainless steel pipes hover over head when you are seated in the Auditorium.  

The Theatre itself has undergone mutiple renovations in recent years, from new seating with extra leg room in 2015 to a new disabled platform lift in 2016,  additional seating and updated lighting box in 2017, state of the art commercial kitchen installed in March 2018 and finally our new Lift in August 2018 making us one of the few theatres in the area with full disabled access to our stage and backstage area for disabled performers. 

All of the above could not have been completed without the help of our patrons, customers and some very generous charities and funding groups. 

During the Pandemic we have been very lucky to have received grants from the Arts Council England, and other community groups to help us cover the day to day costs of sustaining our little theatre during the dark days of lockdown so we are extremely grateful to the Arts Council England again for considering and choosing our little theatre to receive the latest grant of £150,000 from the Arts Council England's Capital Investment Programme. 

As part of these 2021-22 and 2022-23 grants, over £22.7 million has been awarded to 66 cultural organisations across the country, including Blackfriars Arts Centre. The Capital Investment Programme aims to help cultural organisations across the country transform their buildings and equipment so they can operate safely post-pandemic, improve access, seize technological opportunities, and reduce environmental impact. From Barrow-in-Furness to The Isles of Scilly, the organisations receiving funding share a vision to build a fit for the future cultural sector, which all members of their communities can access.

This award will allow us to improve our lighting and sound equipment, delivering higher quality productions for audiences, as well as improving access to our productions by providing a new hearing loop and screens for surtitles. By moving our equipment to LED, it will greatly reduce our environmental impact.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said “World class creativity and culture needs a resilient and sustainable infrastructure to allow it to flourish. With these investments in the buildings, equipment, and digital systems of cultural organisations across England, we are helping to secure the future of that infrastructure, and making sure that people from every part of the country can continue enjoying all the benefits it delivers for years to come.”

Robert Barclay, Chairman of Blackfriars Arts Centre said ‘this award is a real game changer for us. Our equipment is relatively old and has been in need of replacement for some time. With this grant we will be able to offer a better class of production for our local community organisations and audiences alike. It will also help improve access to performances for more of our local community to enjoy than ever before. Our environmental impact will be reduced, as will our overheads!’ 

Keep an eye on our website and Facebook Page for updates as the project gets started. 

In the meantime we look forward to seeing you at our Little Theatre soon. 

Blackfriars undoubtedly plays a very important role as Boston's centre for entertainment and the arts. It is home to two very successful local amateur dramatic and operatic groups, as well as hosting a varied program of professional stage productions.