New venue mooted by arts bosses in Derby
Arts and cultural leaders in Derby are planning what could potentially be the best venue in the East Midlands, although it may take several years before the building comes to fruition.
They are looking at a replacement for the Assembly Rooms which opened in 1977 and is run by the city council.
The Great Hall of the Assembly Rooms seats 1,200 people, although many people consider it is not big enough to host major theatrical tours and concerts.
A replacement for the Assembly Rooms, which would cost up to £40 million, is “well overdue”, according to Bob Betts who chairs the city’s Active Culture Board, an organisation set up to improve cultural buildings and outdoor spaces in the city.
He says the arts venue would be the next big project for the city after the council completes a £50 million leisure expansion featuring a velodrome and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
He said, “We’re going to have to find the investment for it both within and external to the city.
“But we’re no strangers to finding investment for Derby—we do find a way and we’ll continue to do that.
“We’re going to make sure that when people get into the city everything is superb, whether it’s theatre, performing arts or museums. But there’s an awful lot of work to do.”
Councillor Martin Repton, cabinet member for leisure and culture at Derby city council, said, “The council is looking at the current condition of the Assembly Rooms and is simply discussing possibilities for the future.
“However, it’s important to stress that this work is at a very early stage and that financially we are in a very difficult place at the current time due to Government cuts. Therefore there are no definite plans or approved budgets in place.”