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pounds 5.4m facelift for Sherman; Theatre to close in January for an 18-month refurbishment programme.

Byline: Emily Woodrow

ONE of South Wales' top theatres is preparing for a stunning new facelift after being awarded a multi-millionpound grant.

Sherman Cymru, on Cardiff's Senghenydd Road, was awarded pounds 3.9m from Arts Council of Wales in order to undergo a much-needed redevelopment.

This will see the building completely transformed, with modernisation of public areas, refurbished backstage areas and improved conditions for staff and participants.

The theatre's director, Chris Ricketts, said: "This is really great news and we're delighted with Arts Council of Wales' support. The building work we will be able to do will vastly improve facilities, enhance our profile within the city and really enable us to be more ambitious with the productions we create and the performances we programme."

The refurbished building - originally opened in 1973 as part of University College Cardiff - will be designed by Capita Architecture's Jonathan Adams, who also designed the Wales Millennium Centre.

It will have new seating in both theatres, new toilet facilities and the redevelopment of the foyer areas, including improved access.

Backstage areas will also be redeveloped to improve rehearsal and office space, enabling enhancement to the quality of the work.

Nick Capaldi, chief executive of the Arts Council of Wales, said: "Sher-man'contribution to the cultural life of Wales is longstanding and well established. We're delighted to be making this significant investment of funding in the theatre's future.

"Sherman Cymru is already one of the country's most important theatre producers, so it's essential that it has the quality of facilities to match."

The grant received by the theatre will cover 74% of the total cost of the redevelopment.

Sherman Cymru aims to raise the remaining pounds 1.5m needed for the scheme from a range of sources, including a public campaign for individual donations, and fundraising activities such as staff members running the Cardiff Half Marathon.

The theatre produces several new productions a year, most notably the award-winning Deep Cut in 2008 which was a sell-out hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2008, before transferring to London's prestigious Tricycle Theatre.

Sherman Cymru's Learning and Engagement team has worked with almost 7,000 young people in the past year alone through the Youth Theatre and Acting Out Cardiff, which allows 14 to 16-year-olds to study for a Btec in Performing Arts at the theatre, and various other projects with young people, asylum seekers and refugees.

The theatre's chairman Emyr Jenkins added: "Our redevelopment plans are aimed to give the Capital City of Wales' only producing theatre the venue it, and its audience, deserves - something of which we can all be proud."

The current Sherman building will close its doors for the 18-month refurbishment in January next year, following Sherman's 2009 Christmas production, A Christmas Carol.


How the Sherman Cymru theatre building, in Cardiff's Senghenydd Road, will be completely transformed by the pounds 5.4m improvement scheme
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 30, 2009
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