New 400-seat performance space to enrich Liverpool’s cultural life

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A new £22m Arts and Humanities Centre incorporating a state of the art 400 seat performance auditorium, will be built by the University of Liverpool to enrich lives across the city and deliver real world experience to students.

The ambitious new build will provide a new landmark to the city and offer enhanced teaching provision with three combinable lecture theatres for a total capacity of more than 1,000 students, as well as becoming a centre of excellence for music.

Ground will be broken on the new Centre this spring. The auditorium – which will offer publicly accessible performances across genres – will have an optimum acoustic profile and capacity for a 70-piece orchestra.

Professor Catherine Tackley is Head of the University’s Department of Music: “The Arts and Humanities Centre will amplify every aspect of our Department.

“It’s important that we continue to facilitate and resource opportunities for our students to perform in orchestras alongside their colleagues – and that means giving them somewhere perfectly suited to that.

“But it goes beyond performance.

“Our weekly lunchtime concert series already enables students to experience every element of organising live performances, from artist liaison and administration, to programming and technical aspects. The Arts and Humanities Centre will take this experience to an entirely new level, with students managing multiple performances each week.

“The facility will also give students interested in pursuing careers in sound recording and live broadcasting professional, real-world experience.”


Inside the centre 

In addition to the benefits for staff and students, the aim is to create a performance space that will sit alongside the UK’s leading concert venues, such as the Liverpool Philharmonic. It will be situated on the south-east edge of campus, on the border between the entrance to the city and the University, making it easily accessible.

The new Centre design has been delivered by University of Liverpool alumni now working as architects at Ellis Williams – the award-winning firm behind the Baltic in Gateshead and the Storyhouse in Chester.

Former students - Associate, Mushtaq Saleri (BA Hons Architecture 1995, BArch 1998) and Project Architect, Jade Meeks (BA Hons Architecture 2012, MArch 2015) - will work with the University’s School of Architecture and Acoustic Research Unit on the project, alongside some of the country’s top acoustic consultants at Arup.

The new development follows multimillion pound investment by the University in Department of Music facilities. The refurbished Gordon Stephenson Building, which will be officially opened by Vasily Petrenko at a ceremony on 12 March, now houses a suite of brand new recording and performance studios, teaching spaces and high-end equipment.

Professor Catherine Tackley added: “The intention is to complement Liverpool’s existing musical infrastructure, and with the Arts and Humanities Centre that means filling a gap with a venue uniquely suited to the performance of a very diverse range of musical genres – from classical and contemporary compositional to jazz and folk, and everything in between.

“Liverpool deserves this.

“It deserves both a Department of Music and a concert hall befitting of the fact that music is lifeblood here, perhaps more so than any other city in the UK.”

The University is investing £19.1m in the project, and is seeking an additional £3m to fund the development of the auditorium. Half of this has already been achieved. If you would like to play your part and contribute, please visit:


Vasily Petrenko opens new music facilities following multimillion pound investment