BUDDING performers will be nurtured in the heart of the city when Wakefield Museum is transformed into a show venue for students.
Wakefield College will carry out a £1m refurbishment of the Grade II listed building next year.
The museum collection, which has been housed at Wood Street since 1955, is moving to Wakefield One, the Council’s new civic building at Merchant Gate.
Wakefield College principal Sam Wright said she was “delighted” that the college would be taking over the running of the historic building.
She said: “Governors have approved a refurbishment that will retain the unique character of the existing building allowing it to become a recognised performing arts venue in the heart of the city.
“The venue will form an integral part of the proposed redevelopment of our estate and will supplement the multi-million pound revamp of our Margaret Street Campus.
“We are hopeful that the museum will become a venue for students to learn and perform for many years to come.”
Last night students gave a special dance performance to celebrate the building’s history.
Curator John Whittaker also gave a special illustrated talk about the history of the building.
The Wood Street museum will be closed from the end of this month to allow staff to prepare for the move to the new site.
Coun David Dagger, the council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for culture, said: “This is a new exciting step for our museum, moving to a new, fully-accessible building which will provide a modern exhibition space.
“I am delighted that Wakefield College is taking over the listed building which at one stage was used as a dance hall. It is part of the city’s heritage and we and the college are determined to keep it in public use.”
The building has served the community as a cultural institution for almost 200 years.
It was built as a Music Saloon and Public Rooms, paid for by the sale of shares at £25 each in 1820.
Museum collections moved into the building in 1955.