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Final phase of BAC’s £13m revamp plan to go ahead despite fire

The aftermath of the BAC fire. Photo: London Fire Brigade The aftermath of the BAC fire. Photo: London Fire Brigade
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More than £50,000 has been raised by supporters of Battersea Arts Centre since the fire at the venue last Friday.

The news comes as artistic director, David Jubb, has confirmed that the third phase of BAC’s £13 million redevelopment project will continue as planned, as the parts of the building this affects have not been damaged by the fire.

He also said that the venue had now begun to create a strategy, dubbed the Phoenix Plan, which will look at how the venue can get shows staged that were planned for the destroyed Grand Hall, and how this part of the building can be rebuilt over the next 12 months.

“While we have lost the Grand Hall, more than two thirds of the building is saved,” he said, adding: “We think, at the moment, that the final phase of the capital project, due to be completed in early 2016, should be able to go ahead as planned. This is because the parts of the building in which this project is happening are unaffected by the fire. This is a huge relief and means that the investment in that phase of the project is safe.”

Speaking to The Stage on Saturday morning, Jubb said he and the organistion had been “devastated” by the blaze, but remained resilient.

In an update posted on the venue’s website on Sunday, Jubb said that BAC was talking to its insurance company. He praised a campaign that had been set up to raise money for the venue, to which more than 1,500 people have donated so far, and which had so far raised £50,925 for the venue.

As the Grand Hall – the venue’s main space – has been completely destroyed, he said that BAC was looking at options for where the plays that had been programmed for it, particularly those in its recently announced A Nation’s Theatre project, could be staged.

One of the arts companies worst hit by the fire is Gecko Theatre, which had been staging its play Missing in the Grand Hall. The fire has destroyed all of the show’s set, costumes and props, which it said had been custom made and developed over five years.

The company said it was “devastated” by the loss of the venue and of its production.

Gecko artistic director Amit Lahav said: “We have been humbled and uplifted by the outpouring of love and support to both organisations. We are determined to bring Missing back as quickly as possible so that we can honour our upcoming tour in Mexico and future dates.”

The company said a “bare bones” version of the production was planned for the end of the week, and that a fundraising campaign was being launched to help the theatre company.

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