From disused beer cellar into Sheffield’s newest fringe theatre space, The Cellar at DINA arts centre in Cambridge Street opened yesterday.
The Cellar was where beer was kept for the venue’s previous use as The Cutler pub.
The project to convert it began last November, when a theatre production company checked out the space and found it a perfect location to host their play.
Miriam Schechter of Dear Hunter Theatre, co-wrote Club Bazaar along with Ben Price and Emily Compton, a performance about a dystopian future in which all art is banned and driven underground, which ran for six sell-out shows.
Miriam said: “Club Bazaar was set in a cellar, so when we found out that DINA had one we had a look inside and, despite it being cluttered, we quickly became adamant that this was where we would stage the show, no question about it.
“We hastily created a space to rehearse, perform and accommodate an audience and after that we did not think we would use the cellar again, but it naturally became ours as DINA were happy for us to take it on as a project.”
More than 600 hours of voluntary work later, The Cellar is now a safe, functioning theatre venue, and from July 18 to September they have programmed an eclectic series of performances from artists, all-ability workshops and discussions about the philosophy of art and theatre.
All performances are £5, discussions are free of charge and in keeping with The Cellar’s ethos of accessibility, no-one will be turned away for lack of funds.
The Cellar garnered significant recognition before it officially opened.
In June it earned a grant of £4,250 from the UnLtd Spaces 4 Change fund, which supports young social entrepreneurs with ideas to unlock the potential of unused and under-utilised spaces, to go towards continuing renovations, as well as light and sound equipment.
An exhibition by Sheffield artist Barbara Brookes has also been awarded funding by the Arts Council to go ahead in the venue later this summer.
The Cellar team have collaborated with DINA to expand on the venue’s existing programme of artists makers working in a range of cultural disciplines, including writers, visual artists, filmmakers, theatre makers and musicians.
Visit facebook.com/thecellardina to get more information about the venue and also the forthcoming programming for the site.