Cambridge Arts Theatre auditorium architectural image
Tuesday 11 June 2024

Gatsby Foundation makes a transformational gift to Cambridge Arts Theatre for a major capital redevelopment

Cambridge Arts Theatre today announces a generous £16 million gift from Lord David and Dame Susie Sainsbury via the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. These funds will enable Cambridge Arts Theatre to complete the first phase of a major redevelopment project designed by architect Ian Chalk, which will include the total refurbishment of the current 666 seat auditorium, upgraded audience facilities, improved technical services, sight lines and acoustic performance. This will give the theatre greater scope for creating new in-house work and ensure that it can continue to attract the very best touring productions to Cambridge.

David Sainsbury said today “The Cambridge Arts Theatre sits at the very heart of Cambridge’s rich cultural heritage, and the careers of many of our finest actors and directors of both stage and screen have started at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. We were first alerted to the need for wholesale refurbishment at the theatre by Sir Ian McKellen during the tour of his one-man show. He made his own acting debut at Cambridge Arts Theatre in 1959, and we are delighted to make the donation today.”

At the same time, this moment signals the launch of an exciting fundraising campaign to add a 200 seat, fully equipped, studio theatre on the roof of the existing building. This totally new space will allow for a second stream of productions to increase the reach of the theatre for the entire community. This will build on the founding vision of John Maynard Keynes who funded the construction of the Cambridge Arts Theatre in 1936. The plans for the renovation of the existing theatre are specifically designed to allow for the addition of this second space when the funds are available.

The planning for the capital redevelopment has been spearheaded by Cambridge Arts Theatre’s CEO, Dave Murphy, who commented, “Thanks to this extraordinarily generous gift from the Gatsby Foundation, the theatre is now at the dawn of a new era. I am very proud of the part I have played in formulating the plans for the new incarnation of the theatre and helping secure this transformational gift to enable the works to begin. On behalf of all us at the venue, I want to thank the Gatsby Foundation for their generosity and belief in Cambridge Arts Theatre.”

For more information about the project please email [email protected]