Birmingham's MAC to reopen in May after £15m transformation
MAC (Midlands Arts Centre), the pioneering Birmingham arts centre, will open its doors to the public on Bank Holiday Saturday 1st May 2010, following a two year £15 million expansion and refurbishment programme. Set in the 8.6 acre Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham, MAC was the brainchild of local philanthropist John English, the theatre writer and director, and his wife Alicia (Mollie) Randle. It was one of the first of a wave of arts centre developments in the 1960s, which sought to bring the arts out of conventional museums and theatres and into the heart of local communities.
The original complex of buildings has been dramatically transformed for a new generation: spacious public concourses link the site together, integrating the restored original 60s buildings into a vibrant relationship with brand new spaces. The developments include a major new gallery for the display of contemporary art, the largest in the West Midlands, refurbished theatre and cinema spaces, rehearsal studios, studio spaces for developing new work open to both professional and aspiring artists, expansive foyers and café spaces flooded with daylight, and a newly landscaped terraced garden area with space for open air performances and relaxation. Artists have been involved in every stage of the process, culminating in a series of commissions for elements of the building itself including wall and floor decorations, carpet and sculptures.
Dorothy Wilson, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of MAC, said: “We are proud and excited that, just as Birmingham has reached the shortlist to become UK City of Culture, we are able to open our doors to our community again. We are truly grateful to our major investment partners, Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England for their unstinting support and to the many individuals, companies, Trusts and Foundations who have supported our Capital Appeal.”
The scheme was developed over a period of more than ten years. Initial ideas undertaken by Doug
Branson of Branson Coates Architects, while the project was taken to completion by Birmingham based