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NTGent plans big scale renovation of its infrastructure

| 13 February 2024
NTGent, Ghent's city theater, faces growing challenges due to limited infrastructure. The theater has developed a comprehensive plan to ensure high quality operations over the next 30 years and provide new opportunities for the arts sector in Ghent and beyond.

NTGent currently manages two buildings, the KNS-Schouwburg and Minnemeers, both owned by the city of Ghent. Both locations have significant deficits.

The infrastructure plan is based on feasibility studies and includes three main elements. First, the Schouwburg will undergo further renovation, focusing on its historic exterior, audience reception and offices. Second, the Minnemeers site is undergoing a transformation into a duo presentation venue, with a technically updated "black box" theater and a new presentation hall. Minnemeers' set studio is moving to a new Creation Site outside the city center, which will also have a space for rehearsals and creation.

The estimated cost of renovating Minnemeers and building the new Creation Site is 13.3 million euros, while the renovation of the Schouwburg is estimated at 15.3 million euros, both amounts excluding VAT. The plan is designed as a necessary and future-proof investment without excessive costs.

The new infrastructure plan retains the KNS-Schouwburg as the symbolic heart of NTGent, where major international productions are presented. Minnemeers will become a pure presentation place with the possibility of a cooperative exploitation with artistic partners and educational institutions, such as the Ghentian conservatory KASK. Preserving Minnemeers for presentation can only be done by creating a new Creation Site. Here too, NTGent is looking for far-reaching collaborations with partners from the artistic field and education, but also from the social and economic sector.

The infrastructure plan is intended as an acceleration in modernizing infrastructure. Design studies for both the KNS Theatre and Minnemeers are likely to begin this year, followed by further steps in partner collaboration, financing, and planning. The defects in the current buildings, such as the crumbling historic outer shell of the Schouwburg and technical shortcomings in Minnemeers, highlight the urgency of the infrastructure plan to safeguard and improve NTGent's artistic operation.