Courtyard thinks bigThe Stage News - 6th August 2005
North London's Courtyard Theatre is expanding its operations, with a second performing space in King's Cross and a new home for its training school.
Under plans submitted to Islington council by the owner of its current home, Denecroft Estates, its 70-seat venue will be transformed into a 150-seat theatre and 60-seat studio with restaurants below.
Courtyard executive director Tim Gill said the venue has also acquired the lease for a nearby building, which will house its offices and provide space for rehearsals and educational activities, allowing it to triple the number of students it takes over the next two years.
He added the plan was to create an 80-seat studio theatre within the building for use by students on their acting course, which is set to become a registered degree course next year.
"We are over the moon to be able to be here - there's nowhere else in the West End that offers a safe producing opportunity for companies and it doesn't have nearly enough small venues. We hope it will get more high-profile companies working with us, and that we will be able to forge links, which we can continue when we move back to our home in King's Cross," he said.
The work on the company's current home is expected to begin in the spring and take 18 months, during which time it will operate from the refurbished studio at the Theatre Museum under the name The Courtyard Theatre at Covent Garden.
The museum's venue, which underwent a £350,000 renovation earlier this year to become an 81-seat black box space, is being made available to fringe theatre companies in order to offer them the chance to perform in the West End.