Redesigned church in Lichfield to become library & arts hub

A £1.4 million redevelopment of St Mary’s Church in Lichfield into a library and a multi-use performance area is almost done. The project by Croft Building and Conservation Ltd aims to transform a church in the market square into a library and an arts space. Set to open in December, the building has undergone a considerable change. Now it is adorned with bespoke glass balustrades for decking overlooking its ground floor after the inside was stripped to reveal a lot of stonework previously hidden.

While the area on the first floor has undergone a stunning transformation the ground floor has been worked on to accommodate the library. The tremendously changed interiors of the church will offer a seating of over 140 people who will come to the venue of arts events. A huge stained glass window is on the eastern wall of the area which will feature a visual arts gallery, photographic archive area, treasury as well as an access to the digital local records for the county. It is expected the magnificent space at St Mary’s will now welcome classical concerts, performing arts workshops and plays as well as rock and pop gigs and other popular occasions.

Speaking about the St Mary’s project, Caroline Kerr talked about their approach which involves remaining relevant to survive like many organizations. They believe that by providing a vibrant as well as engaging arts experience together with the re-located library in the heart of the city they will enhance the life in Lichfield, which will attract new visitors and audiences. Creating a flexible space that professionals can use and spaces community groups can perform with well-respected artists was the aim of the project according to Caroline.

This would provide an ideal seedbed for young upcoming performers as well as a place for special events like dinners, special evenings, weddings and other celebrations. The great interiors achieved by a number of magnificent additions including bespoke glass balustrades for decking allows great spaces for many occasions. They project to hold drama, comedy, local band nights, headline musicians, contemporary circus as well as exciting programme families and children.

Caroline Kerr said they were fortunate to have already forged partnerships with the Manchester and Derby Theatre, The Lowry. The incredible library and a multi-use performance building have already secured the first event ahead of its completion. A Christmas Celebration will be held on Thursday, 13 December at 7:30 pm. Tickets to the first occasion of St Mary’s by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir are available.

This performance will be by a former artistic director of the Lichfield Festival, Paul Spicer. Some of the Christmas music that will be at the concert include works by Britten, Finzi, Poulenc, Bruckner, Byrd, and Howells. A couple of organizations have facilitated the completion of the St Mary’s project. The contributors to the project include:

– Conduit Lands Trust
– Swinfen Broun Charitable Trust
–  Lichfield Municipal Charities
–  Lichfield BID
– Garfield Weston Foundation
– Foyle Foundation 
– We Love Lichfield
Lichfield District Council also donated £44,000 through its Arts Fund. The money has been helpful in getting the sound and lighting equipment.