Coventry University’s historic former city centre cinema building set for transformation

The Ellen Terry building, a former cinema in the heart of Coventry University’s city centre campus, is to be given an internal transformation by refurbishment specialist Overbury.

The art deco building which has been a characteristic feature of Coventry’s city centre landscape since 1880 is now the home of the media and performing arts courses at Coventry University, and is named after Dame Ellen Terry, a star of the Victorian age and one of the leading Shakespearian actresses of her time.

The university and Overbury plan to breathe new life into the building’s specialist facilities, remodelling and upgrading its theatre and performance changing rooms as well as its teaching areas, taking the building’s utility and flexibility to the next level.

The investment is part of Coventry University’s commitment to seek to create world-class environments to maximise the quality of the student, teaching and learning experiences and spaces it has to offer.

The Ellen Terry building boasts a range of versatile features including a music studio, computer suites, darkrooms and performance spaces, all tailored to the needs of those studying courses linked to photography, performing arts, media, film-making, popular music and more.

Overbury will be working alongside architects at Robothams, project managers and quantity surveyors at Gardiner & Theobald and mechanical and engineering consultants at Stewarts to deliver the internal transformation.

The refurbishment is the latest project in a long-standing relationship between Coventry University and Overbury, which has seen large-scale refurbishments at the Sir William Lyons Building, the Whitefriars Building and the Richard Crossman Building in the past.

Work is due to start in February and is expected to take 10 weeks to complete.

Dr Shaun Hides, Academic Dean of Coventry University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, said: “This is another fine example of the university’s investment in our faculty’s infrastructure and our commitment to providing excellent learning spaces for our students to take advantage of.

“We’re delighted with the ambition and support the university is showing through this development, which is a key part in the major investment in our faculty’s future. Together, these projects will take our Arts and Humanities facilities to the next level, giving our students access to innovative spaces that will support distinctive and truly cutting-edge approaches to creative and collaborative learning.”

Penny Mitchell, Business Development Manager for Overbury, said: “Over the last few years Overbury has built a strong and successful relationship with Coventry University and we’re committed to building on this partnership by delivering to the highest standard.

“It’s inspiring to see Coventry University commit to investing in its buildings during a global pandemic, to ensure its students can access the best facilities possible in a safe and secure environment. Just like the rest of the world, the university is adapting and placing wellbeing and student experience at the heart of its spaces.

“We’re working alongside our partners using additional measures to ensure our work can be completed safely within the pandemic and are looking forward to seeing the project come to life.”