Sainsburys’ £16m lift to Cambridge Arts

The Cambridge Arts Theatre, founded almost 90 years ago by John Maynard Keynes, has been given £16m by David and Susie Sainsburys’ Gatsby Charitable Trust to complete the refurbishment of the auditorium.

“The Cambridge Arts Theatre sits at the very heart of Cambridge’s rich cultural heritage, and the careers of many of our finest actors and directors of both stage and screen have started at the Cambridge Arts Theatre” said Lord Sainsbury. “We were first alerted to the need for wholesale refurbishment at the theatre by Sir Ian McKellen during the tour of his one-man show.  He made his own acting debut at the Cambridge Arts Theatre in 1959, and we are delighted to make the donation today.”

As well as launching McKellen the Cambridge Arts started the careers of Emma Thompson, Trevor Nunn and Olivia Coleman. It saw the premiere of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party  and was the venue for Margot Fonteyn’s first Swan Lake.

As well as upgrading the 666-seat auditorium the funding will pay for better audience facilities, technical services, sight lines and acoustics.

The announcement also launches a fundraising campaign to add a 200-seat studio theatre.

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