CULTURE and tourism projects in Stratford have received a £1.5million boost.
The Royal Shakespeare Company is one step closer to opening up its costume workshop to the public after a £1million investment.
And Henley Street, the location of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, has been awarded nearly £500,000 to improve the area.
Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) is investing the money ahead of Coventry being UK City of Culture in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham in 2022, both of which are set to attract thousands of extra visitors to the town.
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust chief executive Tim Cooke said: “Henley Street is the gateway to one of the world’s great cultural designations and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Stratford District Council to improve the streetscape and the surroundings of Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
“We are greatly encouraged by the decision of CWLEP to support this investment to develop a welcoming social space that enhances the identity and special setting of the birthplace for residents and visitors from all over the world to enjoy and experience.”
The RSC is currently restoring and redeveloping its Chapel Street workshop and plans to take on apprentices.
The company’s £9million Stitch in Time appeal is now only £250,000 off reaching its target and work is nearly complete.
RSC executive director Catherine Mallyon said: “The new workshop will safeguard the future of costume making in Stratford, enable public access to the workshop for the first time and establish apprenticeships to train the next generation.
“The project will transform our out-dated costume workshops revolutionising the working conditions and increasing employment opportunities. Stratford is rightly recognised as a key asset of our region, maintaining and securing its cultural offer is essential to making it an attractive area to live, work and study.”
Her words were echoed by costume workshop council member and RSC honorary associate artist Sir Patrick Stewart.
He said: “The RSC is such a special company to actors and audiences around the world.
“The costumes help to shape an actor’s performance, and that journey always begins in the costume workshop.
“All of this happens day-after-day despite the working facilities which were bursting at the seams and no longer fit for purpose.
“I am delighted the CWLEP recognised the importance of RSC’s costume workshop, and are supporting the restoration and redevelopment, which will allow future generations of audiences and actors to experience the magic these workshops produce.”
Visit www.rsc.org.uk/stitch-in-time to donate or find out more.