A “world class” entertainment venue operator is soon to be appointed for the Civic Halls, City of Wolverhampton Council has announced.
The iconic venue is due to reopen in early 2022 following a major refurbishment programme.
Once open, the famous venue will again host leading musical and entertainment acts, attracting visitors to the city and boosting the local economy.
The Council’s Cabinet is set to approve a preferred operator from a shortlist of premier names at a meeting later today (WED17).
The preferred operator, which will enter into a long-term partnership with the council, will be announced in May. It follows a thorough selection process that saw a strong list of recognised and renowned contenders whittled down to a shortlist of three.
The operator will then bring forward exciting and ambitious plans for the venue with bigger and better acts and events, supporting the city’s economy at a vital time. Plans will also benefit local businesses, see new jobs created and raise the city’s profile.
The new operator will also work closely with development contractor, Willmott Dixon Interiors, on the final stages of the multi-million-pound transformation of the Grade II-listed building.
The improvements, allied to the expertise of a leading operator, will ensure the Grade II-listed halls remain a prominent venue on the entertainment circuit for generations of audiences to come.
Councillor Stephen Simkins, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Bold and ambitious projects like the Civic Halls, the award-winning Interchange, i9, Art Gallery, Future High Streets Fund improvements and Canalside city living plans, are essential to the Wolverhampton’s regeneration strategy, wider transformation and economic well-being. They were important before Covid-19 struck - and are even more important now.
“From a final shortlist of three world class operators, we are delighted to be in the enviable position of securing a leading name with an incredibly strong track record.
“Their expertise will help take the iconic venue to the next level and provide an amazing experience for anyone visiting the halls.
“The works that are being carried out on the building will enable them to attract more popular and prestigious entertainment acts, while retaining the current characteristics of the venue that make them popular with performers, producers and audiences.
“The Civic is an integral part of Wolverhampton’s entertainment and music heritage and an important part of our visitor economy.
“We believe it has the potential to become a recognised venue not just regionally and nationally, but also internationally.
“The re-opening and the successful operation of the halls will reap big rewards in terms of jobs and economic benefit for the city as we look to relight from the impact of the pandemic.”
Maria Bertelli, Associate Director of IPW who led the competition added: “It has been a very competitive process, showing the strength of Wolverhampton as a market and the status of the Civic Halls in the history of entertainment venues across the UK. All parties saw the potential of the refurbishment to re-position the venue at the forefront of mid-scale venues in the UK.”
The works being undertaken by Willmott Dixon Interiors will see the height above the stage to the rear of the Civic Hall increased to attract bigger and better shows.
Overall, there will be wider and more comfortable seats, more bars and more space to socialise, expanded and revamped toilet facilities to give visitors an improved experience, lift access to new balconies, better access arrangements for disabled visitors (including enhanced wheelchair access), a greater number of accessible viewing points, and improved room temperatures through the installation of a new air conditioning system.
As the transformation of the Wolves Civic ramps up, the council is celebrating the fascinating history and emotional power of this iconic building through the www.YourWolvesCivic.co.uk website.
The website celebrates all the joy the halls have brought to Wolverhampton over the years – recognising the famous names alongside the personal memories.
It also gives people the opportunity to share their stories of great nights out at the Civic via the ‘Your Stories’ section on the website.