Team appointed for Berwick Barracks work that will maintain cinema in town during new Maltings build

A local architects has been appointed to head up a project at Berwick Barracks, which is being redesigned to house a 100-seat cinema while the new Maltings is being built.

By Andrew Coulson
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 5:56 pm
The current Maltings building in Berwick.
The current Maltings building in Berwick.

Last year it was confirmed that the town would get a new £17.5 million arts venue after the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal was agreed, £15 million of which will come from the government.

The remaining funding will be provided by Northumberland County Council and partners.

The new Maltings venue in Eastern Lane will be an ‘iconic, multi-purpose cultural and entertainment complex’ when its doors open in 2025. 

Sign up to our daily newsletter

And during the two-year build, The Maltings will use available buildings within Berwick Barracks to continue delivering its programme.

The scheme is being project managed by Advance Northumberland and, in the true spirit of Borderlands working, a design team has now been appointed for the Barracks work.

The lead architects firm is Outland Architects, based in Berwick, and the quantity surveyors and principal designer company is Thomson Grey, located in Edinburgh.

The temporary facilities, including The Gymnasium Gallery and The Mob Store, will add to the current cultural offer at the Barracks and also enable other arts organisations associated with The Maltings, such as the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, to continue to engage and attract audiences and visitors in the town. 

At the Barracks, the ‘Mob Store’ will be transformed temporarily into a single screen cinema with 100-plus seats – which means a vital resource will be retained.

Following practical completion of The Maltings, it will then become the permanent home of Berwick Archives, accredited by The National Archives.

Berwick North county councillor Catherine Seymour said: “I am very much looking forward to these dynamic plans for our Maltings art/culture venue, the Barracks cultural offer and a new home for our archives – with 500 years’ worth of rich material to come to fruition.

“It has taken some time to develop the vision of these projects and secure funds that are gratefully received and will benefit the economy and community.”

The Gymnasium Gallery, which is currently only used by The Maltings six months a year due to insufficient heating and cooling, will be refurbished to allow year-round activities and events to take place.

Both the cinema and the gallery are scheduled to open in next spring.

Coun Jeff Watson, cabinet member responsible for culture at the county council, said: “This project will significantly improve and expand the facilities and offering, making Berwick a centre for culture and the arts and delivering a significant boost to the local economy.

“We’re very pleased to see a cross-border approach to taking the Barracks scheme forward and are looking forward to seeing progress over the coming months.”

The new facilities at The Maltings will include a larger auditorium with extra seating, a dedicated cinema space, a studio theatre and a flexible-use education, event, screening and rehearsal space.