Million-pound Arcola moves to Big Top next door

Arcola Theatre, Ashwin St, Dalston, Lon E8
Arcola Theatre tent, Ashwin St, Dalston, Lon E8
Top: Arcola Theatre and above: Arcola tent

THE ARCOLA Theatre has been given £1 million by the Arts Council for building improvements to its Ashwin Street premises. While the work is being done at E8 3DL, from next month until autumn, shows will be staged in the Arcola Tent 100m away.

It is the second move in a short time for the Arcola. Early in 2011 it left its ex-factory premises in Arcola Street in north Dalston.

Ben Todd, the Arcola’s executive director, said: “Over a year ago we hastily converted the basement, ground and first floors of the Colourworks building with the aid of many volunteers and the financial assistance of Arcola’s loyal patrons. We love our new building, but it’s still a bit rough around the edges, even for us.

The Arts Council “capital funding”, which comes on top of the quango’s support for the theatre’s artistic and creative learning programmes, would be used for “the most urgently required works to improve the function, comfort and accessibility of the building”.

That would include new windows, heating and ventilation. Studio 2 will be lowered one floor into the basement and all dressing rooms and back-of-house areas will be expanded. A new staircase and a new wheelchair lift to serve all floors would be installed.

Dr Todd said that the Arcola “feel” would not be lost. There was more work to be done than money for it, “so fear not, we will be reusing, recycling and calling on the services of volunteers once more”.

He added: “From June to October 2012 it will be business as usual if you would like to book by phone or on line. At the Tent, we will also have a box office, which will be open from 6pm and upgraded facilities for artists and audiences.”

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