We’ve got plans for a great new era at Worcester Arts Workshop!

For almost 40 years now, Worcester Arts Workshop has been a key part of the arts community in the city.  It’s a place for everyone interested in the world of community arts.  It’s always been special, and we want to make sure it always will be.

In fact, we want to build on that wonderful history and make sure we’ve got strong financial foundations for a long and thriving future. And we’re starting this year.

Over the next 12 months, the Board of Trustees, the staff and volunteers at the Workshop, are fundraising for a major renovation and extension.  The plan is to improve the venue so we can provide even more for the arts in the city and region.

The Arts Council has funded a feasibility study and this has enabled us to begin work  with Glazzards Architects, here in Worcester.  Our main aim is to keep all the character of our lovely old building while creating bright, new and contemporary spaces for all the creative arts.

We all know that the building in Sansome Street is showing its age, and is in need of modernisation.  By taking a long term view of how to ensure a thriving future, we plan to combine this essential, major maintenance with the launch of a new era for the Workshop.

It’s an opportunity to arrange more exhibitions, a wider range of classes and events, and attract more people to use the Workshop, so the building must meet the highest possible standards of accessibility for all.  We also want the new Worcester Arts Workshop to be far more environmentally sustainable.

At the moment, our small team of fantastic staff spend virtually all their time just running the Workshop and keeping the building open.  We want to think big to get the best results, and we obviously need some time to make it happen.

So here’s the plan. We want to put all our energies into fundraising and to talking to as many people as we can, locally and further afield, planning for a new era, with the aim of opening newly-built facilities with a much expanded arts programme for the community in 2020.

That’s not far away, and there is a lot to do.

We have already started working with one of the best fundraising experts in the UK, and are talking to charitable trusts. The team at Glazzards has produced some really good initial ideas. Now we need to look at a transition plan.

The Workshop will begin a phased closure at Christmas, when classes will cease to be offered.  In Spring 2018 there will be a short series of celebratory world music events before the venue closes at the end of May.  Café Bliss will continue as a business at the Workshop, serving their wonderful Belizean cooking, until then.  Vamos will continue to be resident at the Workshop as now, using the theatre as a base to devise their acclaimed touring productions.

We believe this year marks the beginning of a great new era for the Worcester Arts Workshop.

If you would like us to keep you in touch with developments, or have any ideas for the future, or if you simply have a question, please do email us at future@worcesterartsworkshop.org.uk.  Or you can write to us at 21, Sansome Street, Worcester, WR1 1UH.

We would love to hear from you.

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