The Courtyard opened its doors to the public for the very first time on September the 18th 1998. The culmination of five years of vision, fundraising and determination resulted in one of Hereford’s newest and most striking buildings and one of the region’s premiere new arts facilities.
The Courtyard is built on the site of the former municipal swimming baths that in its latter years had served as the City’s theatre and arts centre. However, this building was of very poor quality and it was obvious that significant amounts of money would have to be spent to bring it up to modern standards. With the advent of the National Lottery and the appointment of Jonathan Stone as the building’s new Artistic Director, the concept of a brand-new venue for Herefordshire was born.
The venue was awarded £3.75 million pounds from the Lottery Commission towards The Courtyard, which, together with contributions both in cash and kind from the then Hereford City Council and further fund-raising, made the project a reality.
Birmingham-based architects Glen Howells were appointed following a regional RIBA design competition and work began on site in April 1997. The building was to house two performance spaces, rehearsal rooms, dance studio, bar and restaurant, galleries, offices, meeting and conference facilities and a dedicated jewellery workshop.