Guildford Shakespeare Announce New Long-Term Home!
In January 2020 we'll be fulfilling a long-held ambition to be moving into a new long-term home. Following a three-year campaign to find a suitable venue we are pleased to announce we'll be moving in to two buildings on the fringes of Stoke Park in Guildford.
In 2016, we launched a fundraising campaign to establish a long-term home in Guildford that would enable us to bring all our rehearsal, education, outreach, office and storage needs under one roof. With the help of Guildford Borough Council (GBC), we subsequently moved into temporary accommodation at Midleton Road. In the summer we were served notice that the building is due to be demolished in February 2020, and the search to find a long-term solution intensified.
The solution has come in the form a 10-year lease of The GreenArk on Lido Road and the former Astolat Bowls Pavilion, a hundred metres away. The GreenArk will be GSC's main rehearsal and classes space, whilst the Astolat will serve as an education venue and our administrative office. As part of the agreement with GBC, GSC will continue to manage the community use of the GreenArk.
The Astolat Pavilion has been empty for two years, and, with no working bathrooms or electrics, it will be completely renovated and reconfigured inside to ensure we can continue to deliver and further develop our work within Guildford and beyond. The work, (which started today), and the move itself, will take two and half months, at a cost of almost £82,000.
The majority of the works will be paid for from donations to GSC’s New Beginnings campaign, which we set up in 2016 to help us establish a long-term home. A cash contribution made by GBC to help make the building fit for purpose, and a reduced rent period will further enable us to afford the renovation necessary to create our new home.
Matt Pinches (GSC Co-Founder): “We are indebted to the extraordinary generosity of our audiences and benefactors without whom we simply would not be in a position to be able to achieve this dream. We are also very grateful to the GBC councillors and officers that have supported our search, and who, have enabled us to keep our base in Guildford. These two spaces mean we will remain in the community we have grown with and wish to continue serving. Facilities for visiting artists and community groups will be vastly improved, our education and life-changing outreach programmes will be much better supported and we can begin to securely plan for the future.”
James Whiteman, Managing Director of Guildford Borough Council said: “The Guildford Shakespeare company is an asset to the borough and we are really pleased to be working with them. Collaborating with our communities for the benefit of our residents, visitors and businesses is a key priority for us. We look forward to watching this dynamic company go from strength to strength.”
As well as our productions, seen by over 115,000 people, the GSC Education and Outreach Department annually work with some 5000 people across Surrey. Our programme to reduce social isolation and promote social mobility within our community – Brave New World – works with the elderly, homeless, excluded teenagers, and children from less advantaged backgrounds. In 2019, over 3,500 individuals benefited from free-to-access performances, workshops and therapy sessions.