The Belgrade Theatre is a live performance venue seating 858 and situated in Coventry, England, architect Donald Gibson. It was the first civic theatre to be built after the Second World War in Britain (1958) and as such was more than a place of entertainment. It joined the new Coventry Cathedral as a symbol of optimism and culture in one of the largest re-development projects then undertaken, to rebuild the city of Coventry, which had been almost totally destroyed by bombing. The building is now a grade II listed building. In 1963 the Belgrade was registered as a charity by the Charity Commission (number 219163).
Photograph, August 2009
Coventry, West Midlands
|Type||Registered Charity (Number 219163)|
The Belgrade acquired its name in recognition and thanks for a gift of timber from the Yugoslavian (today Serbian) capital city of Belgrade (Coventry's official sister city), that was used extensively in the construction of the auditorium. Since opening in 1958, the theatre has established itself as a centre for the new and innovative productions.
Having pioneered the Theatre-in-Education movement in the 1960s the theatre continues to work with disadvantaged young people and uses drama as a tool to develop personal and social skills. Their most successful programme "Acting Out" has been commissioned by Coventry's LEA for the last 10 years[when?] and has been replicated across the UK. One graduate of the course credits "Acting Out" with saving her life.
The theatre reopened in September 2007 after undergoing a £11 million refurbishment with a 7-storey extension to provide a second auditorium.
In December 2017, the iconic theatre was used as the venue for invited guests and city dignitaries for the announcement of the 2021 UK City of Culture result. There were scenes of jubilation as Coventry was awarded the accolade.
- Historic England. "Belgrade Theatre (1323696)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
- Hambridge, Karen (11 March 2009). "How my life was saved by Belgrade's acting course". Coventry Telegraph .net. Trinity Mirror Midlands Limited. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- "'We're marking out our patch'". The Guardian. 18 September 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "Prince Edward gives Coventry's Belgrade Theatre a Royal stamp of approval". icCoventry.co.uk. Midland Newspapers Limited. 5 February 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
- Perry, Keith (7 December 2017). "Watch the celebrations as Coventry wins UK City of Culture 2021". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 10 December 2017.