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Talisman Theatre Officially Opens New Foyer

(L to R) Youngest member of the Youth Theatre Lucy Henderson with Mayor of Kenilworth and theatre patron (centre) Alix Dearing cutting the ribbon alongside theatre Chairman Nigel Elliott and David Charlton, President of the theatre. Photo © Peter Weston.

Talisman Theatre Reveals Spectacular Transformation with the Official Opening of its New Theatre Foyer.

The Talisman Theatre proudly declares the official opening of its long-awaited redevelopment, marking a new era for this much-loved Kenilworth-based venue.

Originally constructed in 1969 by volunteers, the building’s longevity has defied expectations, surpassing its projected 25-year lifespan and was becoming hindered by structural problems. However, as audiences and community needs have grown, the need for a revitalised space became acutely apparent. This vision has now come to fruition with the unveiling of the new theatre foyer.

It hasn’t been an easy journey though as the theatre's resilience was put to the test, when the original financial backing faced setbacks due to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite increasing costs, supply chain issues, skilled labour shortages, and a surge in demand for builders, the theatre persisted. Fundraising efforts continued during the dark days of the pandemic, ultimately enabling the theatre to break ground in April 2022.

Theatre Chairman Nigel Elliott unveils commemorative plaque for new theatre foyer with Alix Dearing, theatre patron and Mayor of Kenilworth. Photo © Peter Weston.

The £430,000 investment in the theatre's future was made possible by grants received from Kenilworth Town Council, Groundworks on behalf of HS2, Warwickshire County Council, Garfield Weston Foundation, Bernard Sunley Foundation, and Warwick District Council. Additional funds were also raised from a number of donations to the theatre from City Electrical Factors, Kenilworth Lions, Kenilworth Rotary, Leamington Arts Society, Coventry Building Society as well as numerous personal donations and member fundraising events.

The culmination of this transformative journey was celebrated on Saturday, 18 November, with an open day that featured the official unveiling of the new space. The Mayor of Kenilworth, Alix Dearing, who is also a theatre patron, officially declared the new foyer open alongside theatre President David Charlton and Lucy Henderson, the youngest member of the Youth Theatre.

Members, both new and old, along with theatre patrons and grant givers, were treated to behind-the-scenes tours, including insights from the technical crew, wardrobe team, and front-of-house volunteers.

Nigel Elliott, Chairman for the Talisman Theatre, is pleased to see how comfortable audience members have been in the transformed space, even during sold-out performances. He remarked, "The social events we've hosted so far have created a wonderful buzz back into the theatre's atmosphere, and it's great to see the cast members using the space to rehearse for our main stage and Fringe nights."

Nigel added, "We're now excited to fulfil our ambition to use the space for performances, as an arts space, and sharing it with the wider artistic community."

New foyer and community space is ready to welcome theatre members and visitors to the Talisman, Kenilworth. Photo © Peter Weston.

As the theatre enjoys the benefits of this phase of development, plans are already underway to commence fundraising efforts for Phase 2. This phase will see an extended theatre studio space and a much-needed wheelchair-accessible lift to the studio rehearsal space which will further enhance the opportunity to use this as a community space.

For details on how to get involved at the theatre by volunteering time, making a donation, or booking tickets for upcoming events, visit The warm welcome begins in the new foyer space, ensuring a delightful start to your night out at the theatre.


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