A reception was held at The Courtyard earlier this week to launch Transform The Yard, a £1.2 million development of the venue helping to future-proof the charity and enable it to further develop its community programme and creative output.

The evening began with introductory talks from current Chairman of the Board, Roger Morgan and chief executive and artistic director Ian Archer, outlining how the growth in The Courtyard's schools and community work has resulted in a Courtyard that's bursting at the seams and in desperate need of the additional space the development will offer.

Performances from The Garrick Singers - a choir run jointly by The Courtyard and Encore Enterprises - and a bespoke spoken word poem written and performed by 1990s Chris a Working Class Poet, followed, after which Bruce Freeman, Chair of the Development Committee took guests on a guided journey through the development stages, which include a multi-purpose rehearsal and performance space, an accessible entrance and box office department and significantly enhanced Café Bar and Mezzanine areas. Bruce also explained the plans for how and when the transformation will be completed, explaining that work was projected to start in late spring next year, with completion scheduled for September.

Fundraising Manager (Individual Giving) Melanie Denning then launched the Transform The Yard public appeal which aims to raise £200,000 to support the fit out of The Courtyard's brand new spaces. Donors will be included on an official Recognition Wall and will receive updates and invitations to associated events depending on their level of support. There are four established tiers of support ranging from 2020 Transform Club members (£20 donation) to Principal Cast (£10k+ donation).

One member of the community who has already donated at Principle Cast level is Steward, Patron and recently instated Board Member David Fowler who spoke to guests about why he supports The Courtyard in such a generous way: “What encourages me to support this charity over and above the price of a ticket are the opportunities that Youth Theatre provides Herefordshire's young people and the friendly screenings, welcome and programming of events for those with disabilities.”.

Guests at the launch included Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant, The Dowager Countess of Darnley, The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Hereford, Councillor Kath Hey and the Junior Mayor Miss Katie Devey as well as a host of other supporters and stakeholders.

For more information about Transform The Yard or to make a donation call box office on 01432 340555 or visit courtyard.org.uk/transformtheyard.