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Cambridge Arts Theatre to close for major revamp

Photo credit: Cambridge Arts Theatre

The Cambridge Arts Theatre will close for most of 2025 for major works.

The venue has announced a £16million gift from Lord David and Dame Susie Sainsbury via the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.  

The funds will enable a total refurbishment of the current 666 seat auditorium, upgraded audience facilities and improved technical services.

Lord David Sainsbury has been the Chancellor of the University of Cambridge since 2011 and is the great grandson of John James Sainsbury who founded the supermarket chain in 1869:

"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."

Cambridge Arts Theatre CEO Dave Murphy:

"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."

The Cambridge Arts Theatre has told Star Radio the venue will close in January 2025 for nine months to allow the work to be carried out.

Staff have said the refurbishments should be complete in time to reopen for pantomime season in November 2025.

CEO Dave Murphy spoke to Star Radio:

At the same time, this news 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.

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