This week, a brand new centre designed to bring youth, community and the performing arts together has lost its planned premises to a retail giant. The Nabe, supported by Liverpool’s Royal Court, had an agreement to move into the old New Look shop on Williamson Square next month but the building was leased out to HMV by landlords while the theatre waited for planning permissions.

The new centre fulfils a growing need for space for a number of different youth and community groups in Liverpool. As well as the Royal Court’s Youth Theatre, Community Choir and amateur theatre group there have been discussions with the Liverpool Empire, Catalyst Performing Arts, Positive Impact, Capoeira For All, The Comedy Trust  and many other local groups and individual creatives and artistes. Now The Nabe needs a new home.

Miriam Mussa, head of Community and Education at Liverpool’s Royal Court said:

“We have been looking forward to opening up The Nabe for a long time. Our Youth Theatre, community Choirs and all of our other groups have been growing for years and we need the extra space. The New Look building was perfect, near to the theatre but with enough space that we could make it our own.

“We were looking forward to being in there with all of our groups by this half term as well as launching a brand new city-wide Youth Music programme of activities. Now we are left without a home and over 300 disappointed young people and community members not being able to access much needed activities and engagement.  We have lots of plans but no place to go! We are appealing to premises owners with any empty units in the local area that may be available to let.”

The Community and Education programme at Liverpool’s Royal Court is built on free to access classes, groups and events for all across the city region. The choir and youth theatre have no fees and no auditions meaning that if anybody wants to take part then they can. They also run free to access Summer Schools for young people and school holiday clubs.

Kevin Fearon, Executive Producer at Liverpool’s Royal Court said:

“We understand St John’s going with a commercial client – they are a business and have suffered like all of us in the pandemic. But that doesn’t change the shock of the sudden and unexpected news that we have lost the building. We had an agreement, we’d spoken with the council about our plans and the change of use, we had applied for planning permission, we had a schedule for how we were going to use the space and we had told staff and participants about the move.

“Because of our success we’ve outgrown the spaces available in the theatre and the New Look Shop was perfect – it was also an exciting try out of how empty retail units on the high street can be repurposed.”

The theatre is working with CBRE to find a space of around 8,000 – 12,000 sq ft. If any landlords or businesses would like to discuss how they could help The Nabe, the theatre is asking them to contact Andrew Byrne

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