Royal Bal­let ex­ten­sion could put city arts on world stage £4.5m de­vel­op­ment will create ma­jor new dance stu­dio

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

AMAJOR new dance fa­cil­ity at the home of Birm­ing­ham Royal Bal­let has been granted £4.5 mil­lion to help put the re­gion’s arts on the global stage.

The rooftop space will house Dance Hub Birm­ing­ham, aimed at de­vel­op­ing the West Mid­lands as an in­ter­na­tional cen­tre of ex­cel­lence for dance.

A large dance stu­dio, chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties, of­fice space, re­cep­tion area and two meet­ing rooms will be cre­ated.

The ex­ten­sion, be­hind the Hip­po­drome, in Thorp Street, will en­able 100 more dance per­for­mances per year and is ex­pected to in­crease au­di­ence num­bers to 15,000 at the Birm­ing­ham Royal Bal­let venue.

The Greater Birm­ing­ham & Soli­hull Lo­cal En­ter­prise Part­ner­ship (LEP) has al­lo­cated £1.48 mil­lion of Lo­cal Growth Fund to the project with a fur­ther £3 mil­lion com­ing from Arts Coun­cil Eng­land.

LEP board di­rec­tor Anita Bhalla said: “Our in­vest­ment into the Dance Hub Birm­ing­ham de­vel­op­ment will bring sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic and cul­tural ben­e­fits to our young and di­verse pop­u­la­tion.

“The project will at­tract more dance com­pa­nies from across the coun­try to this new space, cre­at­ing more jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties for our grow­ing leisure tourism sec­tor.”

She added: “The per­form­ing arts scene in Greater Birm­ing­ham con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength – more vis­i­tors are com­ing to the area for our cul­tural of­fer, spend­ing more money here than ever.

“This fund­ing con­tin­ues our com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing the cre­ative sec­tor which con­trib­utes to the re­gional econ­omy.” Other part­ners work­ing on the project in­clude Birm­ing­ham Hip­po­drome, train­ing group DanceXchange and sec­tor body One Dance UK. Hip­po­drome chief ex­ec­u­tive Fiona Al­lan added: “This is thrilling news for Birm­ing­ham, home to the largest clus­ter of dance com­pa­nies and per­form­ers out­side Lon­don. “Birm­ing­ham Hip­po­drome is proud to be lead­ing on the con­struc­tion of this ex­ten­sion to our cam­pus, work­ing with lo­cal part­ners and sec­tor ini­tia­tive Dance Hub Birm­ing­ham to pro­vide more fa­cil­i­ties and jobs lo­cally for dancers and more op­por­tu­ni­ties for every­one to en­joy dance across the re­gion and be­yond.“The de­vel­op­ment is sched­uled for com­ple­tion in May 2019. vi­brancy of our

> Birm­ing­ham Royal Bal­let per­form­ing at Birm­ing­ham Hip­po­drome > The roof-top plans for Dance Hub at the Royal Bal­let stu­dios

> Anita Bhalla

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