Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre is to launch its own “Community Hub” and small studio theatre for local groups, rehearsals and small productions.
In June the theatre will also launch the Hope Mill Theatre School, which will train young people aged 7-18, as well as an early-learning class for 4 to 6-year olds.
The community space will be in Pollard Street, next to the Ancoats theatre, and will include a large studio space for community gatherings, dance classes and rehearsals, as well as doubling as a 40 to 50-seat studio space for new work. A smaller space will be home to auditions and singing lessons.
The theatre school will offer its first term in the summer and there will be two free trial weekends during the May half-term, working under whatever anti-Covid restrictions are in operation at the time.
The theatre will also launch online classes from March 8 for 2 to 4-year-olds and their parents or carers. Weekly sessions will offer song, storytelling and movement, initially weekly in term time on Zoom until it is safe to meet in person. More information here.
On March 28 the theatre school will also be launching a play-reading club for 13 to 18-year olds, an extension of Hope Mill’s successful adult play-reading group
The theatre has received money from The Sports & Arts Trust and a private donation to launch the theatre school, meaning half of the available training spaces will be free.
Hope Mill became a charitable organisation in late 2019 and opening a community space and youth theatre school was always part of the plan.
Executive director William Whelton, said: "The importance of such a space for our community has never been more vital. Our aim is to provide a safe and inclusive space for all of our community, nurturing young talent and providing opportunities within the creative and arts industry.”
Hope Mill is launching a Crowdfunding campaign to support the new ventures. The £5,00 they hope to raise will go towards renovation and essential building work. Donate here