Sussex University announces Attenborough Centre ready to open

The new renovated Attenborough Centre has been revealed (
The new renovated Attenborough Centre has been revealed (

The University of Sussex has announced completion of the Attenborough Centre.

The University of Sussex has announced the completion of building works on the newly-renovated Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.

The multi-million-pound refurbishment of the Grade II* listed building creates a world-class, contemporary arts space. The public performance programme will launch next spring.

The iconic building, designed by Sir Basil Spence and formerly known as the Gardner Arts Centre, has been closed since 2007. It has now been transformed by award-winning architectural practice, R H Partnership Architects (RHP), into a modern, flexible environment for exhibitions and performance, and an important new teaching and research space for the university. The building takes its new title in tribute of the University’s former Chancellor Lord (Richard) Attenborough and his family.

ACCA at Sussex University. Copyright Jim Stephenson 2015.Professor Michael Farthing, the university's vice-chancellor, said: "The University of Sussex has a long and proud history of nourishing artistic endeavour, and this refurbishment will go a considerable way to furthering this legacy.

“The Attenborough Centre is to become a creative hub for the University and the wider arts community both on a local and national level. It represents our deep commitment to investing in our campus and to providing an arts venue to be enjoyed by all."

Phillip Naylor, a director at RHP’s Brighton studio, said: "The work we’ve done on this beautiful listed building has helped transform it into a modern interdisciplinary arts hub fit for both public and performers.”

The space now hosts a state-of-the-art 350-seat auditorium, extensive gallery and display areas designed for art and audio visual installations, rehearsal studios, breakout creativity zones, and a new café and bar - to be enjoyed by students, staff, and the public.

ACCA at Sussex University. Copyright Jim Stephenson 2015.As one of the first university campus arts centres, the building has a storied 50-year history, and has previously seen internationally-renowned performers such as Sir Ian McKellen, Gemma Jones, and comedians Jack Dee and Lee Evans grace its stage.

Sculptor Barbara Hepworth and modernist painter Marc Chagall have both exhibited works, and the likes of contemporary dance companies Ballet Rambert and physical theatre troupe Spymonkey have also appeared at the venue.