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Press Release Archive

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Arts Council England invest £3M to support development of The Met

Arts Council England (ACE) have awarded The Met in Bury capital funding to go towards comprehensive developments to the impressive Victorian building on Market Street in the centre of the town.


ACE will be investing £3million as part of a £4.5million refurbishment programme designed to transform the venue in 2015, making it more fit for purpose while not losing the historic original features. Plans include a mezzanine floor in the Main Theatre, modernisation of public facilities and improvements to technical and backstage areas that will improve the programme for its growing audiences. There will also be further developments in Edwin Street Recording Studios to facilitate work with theatre companies and create working spaces for cultural organisations on the unused first floor.


This outcome follows two years of detailed work to evidence the need for remedial works and the possible outcomes of developing The Met as an excellent venue.


David Agnew, Director of The Met comments: “This is an important step for the project. While not a guarantee, it allows us to continue conversations with other stakeholders about investment in the building to better reflect the quality of work we are presenting.”


Operated by Bury Metropolitan Arts Association, The Met works to inspire the people of Bury and the surrounding areas with high quality international work and an accessible range of enriching arts activities. BMAA welcomed more than 52,000 visitors in the year 2013-14, of which 45% came from outside the borough of Bury, 38,000 came to events at The Met, 7,000 attended Ramsbottom Festival, 9,000 took part in the workshops programme and 2,000 attended for other activity such as meetings.


A campaign to match-fund the capital grant in order to carry out the works will begin this year. For more information on The Met or to find out about events and workshops visit www.themet.biz or phone ticket office on 0161 761 2216.



About The Met

Opened in 1980 by Bury Metropolitan Arts Association The Met is Bury’s premier live arts venue, currently ranked at number 39 in the PRS Top 100 Venues in Britain. Situated in the centre of Bury, The Met boasts two performance spaces, Edwin Street Recording Studio and Automatic café and presents a full programme of music, theatre, comedy and family shows throughout the year plus annual special events including the Ramsbottom Festival.



The building

The Met makes its home in Derby Hall, a large Victorian neo-classical building in the centre of Bury. Constructed in the late 1840s by the 13th Earl of Derby, and designed by Sidney Smirke (best known today as the architect of the circular reading room at the British Museum) the building was originally used as a banqueting hall, meeting room, police station and magistrates court. Used as a civic hall by Bury Council for many years, the building was taken over by BMAA in 1980 and has been operated as an arts centre ever since. Although there have been piecemeal developments over the years no wholescale revision has taken place and the historic building has begun deteriorating. Proposed designs for the building have been developed by JMArchitects with Gardeiner and Theobold.



Arts Council England (ACE) capital funding

Arts Council England large capital grants support organisations to develop resilience by giving them the right buildings and equipment to deliver their work. This programme is one of a number of measures in place to help make the arts more sustainable, resilient and innovative.