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Last Updated: Friday, 23 July, 2004, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Theatre complex gets 12m award
Design for new theatre
Rafael Vinoly designed the theatre
A new theatre development in Leicester has been awarded a 12m grant by Arts Council England.

The new centre, which will replace the city's Haymarket and Phoenix venues, is scheduled to open in 2007.

The glass-fronted, dual-stage theatre has been designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, runner-up in the competition to develop New York's Ground Zero.

The development, which will cost 31m in total, is part of a 60m scheme for the city's St George's district.

The Performing Arts and Conference Centre will replace the Haymarket Theatre, which closed in July 2003 after amassing debts of almost 500,000.

The venue will reopen on a temporary basis in September after Arts Council England gave it a separate award of 1.3m.

Arts Council England spokeswoman Fiona Mitchell-Iness told BBC News Online the Haymarket Theatre was no longer "financially viable".

It will help put us on the map, regionally, nationally and internationally
Leicester City Council leader Roger Blackmore

But the 1.3m would enable the theatre company to "radically restructure" in preparation for its move to the new development.


Haymarket Theatre chief executive Mandy Stewart said the Performing Arts and Conference Centre would provide the "ideal stage for innovative and creative performances".

"Our vision for theatre in Leicester is for a fully integrated programme, including participatory events, allowing audiences to have a wealth of new experiences," she added.

Arts Council England's East Midlands executive director Helen Flach said the government-backed body was "looking forward to working with Leicester City Council and other partners to create a stunning centre for the performing arts".

"Not only will it be a flagship building for the arts in Leicester and the East Midlands, but it will also have an important national and international role," she added.

Leicester City Council leader Roger Blackmore said: "This significant funding is good news for this key development, which is another major step in the regeneration of our city centre.

"It will help put us on the map, regionally, nationally and internationally."

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