The UK’s first professional Shop Front Theatre is to re-open its doors again after closing briefly during the late summer.
Theatre Absolute is delighted to announce that after having reworked its business model, a new three-year lease has been secured with Coventry City Council. Julia Negus and Chris O’Connell from Theatre Absolute founded the Shop Front Theatre in City Arcade, Coventry in 2009. The 18-month pilot programme was a huge success with over 2,000 people visiting the shop as audiences, actors and participants. However in March this year the company saw a cut in its core funding from Art Council England and had to halt the shop’s artistic programme as it looked to develop a new way forward.
Chris O’Connell, artistic director said: “Although we closed the doors in July we actually never left the shop. We continued to do what we do best – support and nurture new writers, develop new plays and just this month we delivered a great writing and performance project for teenage boys in Coventry working with sporting mentors including Dave Moorcroft and the team at Coventry Blaze.”
During the next three years the shop will not only host work created by Theatre Absolute, but there will be a new emphasis on making it available as an alternative space for other theatre makers to create and show their work.
Producer Julia Negus said: “We would like to thank the hundreds of people and organisations from all over Coventry, the UK and beyond who have offered support in many forms to keep our unique Shop Front Theatre open. Visitors to the shop immediately warm to it and know that it is something special and that the theatre work is high quality yet affordable, an important point in these difficult times. We’re very proud to be hanging the ‘Open’ sign on the door again!”
A new programme of theatre work and events at the Shop Front Theatre will be announced shortly, starting with the now legendary Writing Gym, led by Chris O’Connell, described as a creative workout for beginner writers, on January 14th 2012. To book a place for the Writing Gym or to find out more about the Shop and its work contact Julia@theatreabsolute.co.uk or 07799 292957. Theatre Absolute, Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HW