Concept

Warwick Arts Centre

Summary
Warwick Arts Centre is a multi-venue arts complex at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England. It attracts around 300,000 visitors a year to over 3,000 individual events embracing all types of theatre and performance, contemporary and classical music, dance, comedy, visual art, films, talks and family events. Warwick Arts Centre is the largest arts centre in the Midlands, and the largest venue of its kind in the UK outside the Barbican Centre in London. Warwick Arts Centre consists of numerous spaces on the same site, including a large concert hall, theatre, three cinemas, art gallery (Mead Gallery), Helen Martin Studio and conference room, as well as learning space, hospitality suites, a café and bars. The centre houses the University of Warwick Music Centre with practice rooms, and an ensemble rehearsal room where music societies and groups rehearse. The Arts Centre was the brainchild of first vice-chancellor Jack Butterworth and American benefactor Helen Martin - who was at the time anonymous. Commissioned in 1970 - and opened in October 1974 - the Arts Centre was designed by architects Renton, Howard, Wood Associates, and the building went on to win a RIBA award. initially with a theatre, studio theatre, conference room and a music centre, the venue was expanded further with the larger Butterworth Hall in 1981 and Mead Gallery, along with a cinema, in 1986. Following a four-year redevelopment, the largest in its history, the Arts Centre reopened to events in October 2021. Work included extensive upgrades of existing spaces, a new foyer, three new cinemas, and a new restaurant. This was followed in January 2022 with the reopening of the repositioned Mead Gallery. With a floor area of 6,458sq ft, it's the largest single dedicated contemporary exhibition space in the region. Among those who've visited the Arts Centre are Terry Pratchett, Jeremy Irons, Jimmy Carr, Eddie Izzard, Hugh Laurie, Ken Loach, and Russell Brand, as well as Motionhouse, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra, Goodness Gracious Me, The Smiths, Jasper Carrott, Kirsty McColl, Yehudi Menuhin, Kiri Te Kanawa, Nigel Kennedy and Evelyn Glennie.
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