More shows and more space for Coventry’s Albany

Steve Orme

Coventry’s Albany Theatre will have plenty to celebrate in 2018: not only will it be presenting more shows than ever before, it will also open a new space on 1 February.

Chief executive David Meredith said, “the date is particularly significant because it will be five years to the day that we took over the lease of the theatre and started on this epic journey to bring the Albany alive again for all the people of Coventry.

“The new space will house the box office and a new performance studio. But that’s just the beginning; we’re consulting on plans for a gallery, café and additional cultural and creative spaces that’ll be accessible to everyone.”

The Albany is part of what used to be Coventry Technical College. The future of the theatre was under threat from the late 1980s right up until the closure of what was by then City College in 2009. The theatre was saved by Coventry city council and reopened on 1 February 2013 as a community venue.

The Albany staged its first home-produced professional show in 2017, Mike Kenny’s adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.

In 2018, the theatre’s attractions include the world première of Paul Nolan’s The Window from 13 until 17 March, the Albany’s “most ambitious project yet”: Wuxi City Dance’s The Embroidery Girl from 5 until 7 April and the off-Broadway musical about Dusty Springfield, Forever Dusty, from 25 until 28 April.

The theatre is run by a professional team supported by more than 75 community volunteers. Volunteer co-ordinator Alexandra Johnson said, “they come from all backgrounds throughout the city and with varying skills—from helping out in the office or running the bars to painting the sets and operating the spotlights.

“We encourage as many people as possible to engage with the theatre and we really couldn’t do it without them. Volunteers really are invaluable to us.”

The full programme of events for 2018 is available at the Albany Theatre web site.