West Yorkshire Playhouse today announced a significant five year sponsorship partnership with the Leeds office of Irwin Mitchell as part of the Playhouse’s landmark redevelopment project.
Confirmed as the Playhouse’s first Principal Capital Partnership, the five year deal with the leading law firm provides the Playhouse with a vital contribution towards its £2.3m fundraising target as it embarks on a major new chapter in its history.
Irwin Mitchell in Leeds has been a committed partner of West Yorkshire Playhouse’s award-winning access programme since 2009, enabling the Playhouse to deliver more than 400 accessible performances and supporting its pioneering development of Relaxed and Dementia Friendly performances – the next of which are scheduled for February’s production of Still Alice starring Sharon Small.
The £14m redevelopment project, led in partnership with Leeds City Council, will be funded by £4.4m from the City Council and £3m from the Playhouse’s own resources (including ongoing fundraising), alongside a £6.6m Arts Council England contribution. The plans will deliver a full modernisation of the Playhouse building, including significantly improved access across the theatre and a brand new city-facing entrance, with work due to start this June. Plans have been confirmed as part of the agreement that the Playhouse’s new glass fronted foyer on St Peter’s Street will be named The Irwin Mitchell Foyer.
West Yorkshire Playhouse Executive Director Robin Hawkes said: “We’re thrilled Irwin Mitchell are joining our redevelopment project as our first Principal Capital Partner, celebrating our strong nine year relationship. I’m delighted our organisations can continue to develop the partnership in this way, and I’m incredibly grateful for this important contribution towards our landmark redevelopment. I’m really looking forward to working with the Irwin Mitchell team and welcoming them into the Playhouse as our relationship progresses over the next five years.”
Paddy Sturman, Banking & Finance Partner at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds, said: “We have been sponsors of the Playhouse for almost a decade now, something we are incredibly proud of. We are absolutely delighted to extend this relationship and take it to a new level ahead of an exciting period in the Playhouse’s development and at a time when access to the arts and entertainment becomes more central to the debate about city living.”
“The wider Quarry Hill development project is likely to be one of the most high profile developments in Leeds City Centre over the next two or three years and so to play a key role in facilitating the redevelopment of the Playhouse is extremely exciting and this latest agreement will raise our profile within the city. The theatre is looking to engage more closely with the business community in Leeds as part of its future strategy and this fits neatly with our own ambitions within the Yorkshire region.”
The law firm is also one of the Playhouse’s principal legal advisers, continuing to advise on a range of commercial matters for the Playhouse and its members.