The Belgrade Theatre is the major arts and cultural facility in Coventry and the only building-based professional producing theatre company in the city. It aims to present a broad spectrum of excellent work, is highly respected for its groundbreaking education and community initiatives and produces a wide range of shows including an annual large-scale event that in recent years has regularly played in Coventry Cathedral Ruins, all of which attracts regional and national media attention.
The current Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Hamish Glen, was appointed to the theatre in March 2003, bringing with him new energy, dynamism and a commitment to restore the Belgrade Theatre’s reputation as a high quality producing house.
Autumn 2007 saw the re-opening of the Belgrade Theatre after completion of its major capital project, including a new 250-300 seat second space called B2 and refurbishment of the existing listed building. The improved facilities allow audiences to enjoy a far wider range of home-produced plays and presenting productions from visiting companies.
The Belgrade receives revenue funding from Coventry City Council and Arts Council West Midlands as well as project funding from these and other government sources.
History and Venue Information
The Belgrade Theatre was built in 1958 as part of the reconstruction of Coventry after World War II and was named in honour of the Yugoslav gift of timber used to help reconstruct the city. Holding 858 in its two-tier main auditorium, it remains one of the largest regional producing theatres in Britain.
Early Company members at the Belgrade included Trevor Nunn, Ian McKellen, John Gunter, Joan Plowright, Michael Crawford, Frank Finlay and Leonard Rossiter, with Arnold Wesker and David Turner among the new dramatists.
In 1962 the Belgrade revived the medieval tradition of the Coventry Mystery Plays, performing famous stories from the bible in the ruins of the Old Cathedral. Productions continued intermittently until 2000 when the Belgrade Theatre produced the Millennium Mysteries in collaboration with Polish theatre company, Teatr Biuro Podrozy. Since then the theatre has created a brand new version once every three years, most recently in 2006 with a production that the Daily Mail chose as a stand-out production in their end of year review.
The Belgrade also started the Theatre-in-Education (TIE) movement in the 1960s, and the theatre’s Community & Education Company continues to pioneer in-house and outreach projects which use the performing arts to develop communication skills, confidence, creative thinking, self-expression, problem solving and team working. Acting Out, its BTEC accredited course for young people at risk of exclusion from school, has recently been cited as a model of good practice in the Government White Paper on 14-19 Education and Training, and has led to similar projects being developed in Birmingham and Cardiff.
For further information or with help booking tickets please contact the Box Office on 024 7655 3055 or visit www.belgrade.co.uk.