Aberdeen Arts Centre unveils plan for £1m redevelopment
Aberdeen Arts Centre (AAC) has unveiled a £1 million redevelopment plan which includes an overhaul of the exterior of its iconic grade A listed building.
An artist’s impression shows how the redevelopment, which includes plans to launch the former Children’s Theatre as a revamped standalone cultural space, fits into the city’s proposed Queen’s Square, the transformation of the existing Queen Street area into a new mixed-used urban quarter.
A new frontage and viewing platform over the Children’s Theatre signpost the community arts venues with additional performance space, improved facilities and a rejuvenated community engagement agenda.
Moray Barber, chair of the AAC board, said: “The Arts Centre is the city’s community-focused venue that provides accessible and inclusive theatre and arts experiences for everyone. And these new plans reveal how we will step up and support a thriving cultural economy that will transform our city centre.
“The benefits that a venue like the Arts Centre brings to the city are significant. When empowered, communities produce incredible work and we believe that Aberdeen Arts Centre is the hub for such activity within the city.
“The city’s cultural strategy acknowledges that cultural organisations have to work collectively to create an environment that empowers all our citizens to engage in or with cultural activity. We’ve been championing this since the early 1960s and we will continue to do so because we recognise the value this brings to all our lives.”
The first phase of refurbishment work has already begun. With help from the City Heritage Trust and Historic Environment Scotland, plans are underway to upgrade the building exterior and a detailed survey was undertaken recently to establish the extent of the required works, estimated at around £600,000.
An investment of £100,000 is improving disabled access and facilities, including the installation of two lifts, toilet facilities as well as an external ramp to make the iconic site as accessible and inclusive as possible.
Mr Barber said: “Taking guidance from the great team at the City’s Heritage Trust and working closely with representatives from Historic Environment Scotland, Aberdeen Council and other key stakeholders, we are very confident that the required funds can be raised to ensure this investment takes place.
“However, this is all dependent on getting an extension on our lease from the council. We’re looking for a 25-year extension on the current lease which runs out in 2025.”