News

Midlands Arts Centre to renovate historic outdoor Arena with support from GBSLEP

Thu 17 December 2020
Archival image of MAC's Outdoor Arena, built in the late 1960s

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) is thrilled to announce we have begun renovations for the venue’s historic outdoor Arena, with support from GBSLEP’s Pivot & Prosper Fund. 

MAC has received a grant of £35,000 to be used to breathe new life into the 450-seater open-air performance space, and fund essential maintenance of the largely disused Arena. The renovations will place accessibility, health and safety at the forefront.

The grant from GBSLEP and business support from GBSLEP’s Growth Hub will allow MAC to plan an exciting series of outdoor events for our audiences in 2021 and beyond, across theatre, dance, cinema screenings, and a range of family activities.

Improvements to MAC’s outdoor Arena, a unique 1960s amphitheatre, will continue our mission to promote innovative, creative activities and make art an important part of people's lives.   

Sally Pennington, Head of Development, MAC, said: “As a charity we need to think about risk, financial resilience, protecting jobs and ensuring the sustainability of the organisation – we need to adapt our larger, flexible space - the Arena - to present an exciting, inclusive programme for our community to enable MAC to thrive post-COVID-19.”

MAC's current Outdoor Arena, which will undergo renovation with support from GBSLEP's Pivot & Prosper Fund Credit: Ben Fernhead

During the renovation, existing rigging and concrete podiums, alongside the canopy, will be removed, and replaced with state-of-the-art rigging systems to ensure audiences can enjoy high-quality artistic outdoor experiences in the future. Essential groundwork and maintenance will take place to guarantee the safety of visiting audiences, artists and staff.

The revamped Arena will meet the high demand for outdoor business events, private hires and educational/schools’ activity. 

Sally continued: “With the help of the Pivot & Prosper fund, we are investing in new opportunities - capitalising on our unique location and enhancing our night-time economy.

“In spring 2021, we will have an outdoor, fully accessible venue – which can support social distancing – welcoming audiences back to MAC and presenting the best in theatre, comedy, cinema and dance. As well as offering the City a unique outdoor events and conferencing alternative. We are absolutely thrilled and so grateful for this much-needed investment.”

Further updates on the renovation of MAC's Outdoor Arena will be posted on our website next year. MAC will reopen to the public in spring 2021. Until then, you can find ways to digitally stay connected and keep creating with us from home here.