TAMWORTH’S hugely popular arts and events programme is to continue during the 18 months that the Assembly Rooms will be closed for redevelopment – and will include new and exciting additions.
Earlier this year, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded £900,000 to the project to restore and extend the 127-year-old building – which is part of the wider £5.5 million project to develop a Creative Quarter in the heart of Tamworth town centre.
With all funding now in place, Tamworth Assembly Rooms is due to close to the public at the beginning of February 2016, with the works expected to make between 18 months and two years to complete. During that time, Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team is committed to running a full programme of events, which has now been announced.
The new programme will build on the strength of the ongoing I Am Tamworth project, which has enabled the Arts & Events team to provide new and exciting community programmes and opportunities for local arts groups.
So far, I Am Tamworth has involved more than 18,000 people, through workshops, activities and audiences – and shown that there is a real appetite for new arts experiences in Tamworth.
The popular outdoor events programme also continues to go from strength to strength, with highlights so far this year including the St George’s day extravaganza, outdoor cinema and the We Love Tamworth event – which attracted a record-breaking crowd of 10,000 people in August.
Feedback from members of the public attending events, shows and activities reveals that 98% of those who responded rated it as good to excellent, with 100% saying they would recommend it to a friend.
The arts and events programme for 2016/17 includes:
- Art in Unusual Spaces programme – A large-scale arts programme building on the success of I Am Tamworth. The programme will involve indoor and outdoor performances and activities, including partnerships with national arts companies. The programme will also involve national projects including the commemoration of WW1, The Big Draw, the 300th anniversary of landscape gardener Capability Brown and an as-yet unnamed world record attempt.
- Outdoor events – Including Sport Relief, St George’s Day, outdoor theatre and cinema, We Love Tamworth, fireworks spectacular and Christmas lights switch-on.
- Consultation programme – A wide-ranging consultation will be carried out, giving people from Tamworth and further afield the chance to have their say on Tamworth Assembly Rooms and the arts & events programme, on issues including access, future events and activities, heritage and displays. The consultation will be carried out through road shows, open events, online and postal surveys and focus groups.
During the period of closure, all current users of Tamworth Assembly Rooms – who will be found alternative accommodation – will continue to receive full support from the Arts & Events team, including marketing, technical, box office and event management facilities.
Tamworth Borough Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Rob Pritchard, said: “The arts and events programme is hugely popular and will continue to flourish during the period that Tamworth Assembly Rooms is closed. We pride ourselves on offering the best programmes of any council. The closure does provide us with huge opportunity to look at delivering the arts and events programme in a different way and we are taking full advantage of this opportunity.”
He added: “The closure of Tamworth Assembly Rooms for a major regeneration represents one of the biggest investments in our arts for a generation and secures the future of the building for future generations to come. The work on Tamworth Assembly Rooms and the wider Creative Quarter project will have a major impact on our town centre by encouraging new businesses and attracting new visitors. This has long been our vision and it is now becoming reality.”