Worcester Arts Workshop opened its doors on the evening of Tuesday 13 November to showcase dramatic changes that have begun at the organisation and exciting future plans.
Guests, friends of the organisation, staff and volunteers joined in an evening of performance, with a message that Worcester Arts Workshop is open for business and ready to embrace a new and exciting future as a creative space at the heart of Worcester.
Hannah Phillips began as Director of Transformation at Worcester Arts Workshop in July 2018, she comes to the role with a wealth of experience in the arts and bringing with her exciting opportunities with her own company of emerging artists and performers Outspoken.
Hannah is building on Worcester Arts Workshop’s existing successes by expanding the programme of events and activities and continuing with a varied participation programme. Work will focus on emerging artists, offering training and pathways to employment, encouraging outreach with marginalised groups and developing audiences and partnerships with other arts and educational organisations.
Hannah Phillips said; “It has been an exciting few months since I began my tenure with Worcester Arts Workshop, with my goal being to re-launch the organisation as a creative destination for the city. I’m planning a diverse mix of music, family events, spoken word, visual arts, film and comedy, as well as presenting spaces that are available for private hire and continuing with and expanding the much loved programme of creative courses.
Worcester Arts Workshop is treasured by the many people who come here to learn, explore and socialise. I really hope that moving forward we can welcome many more visitors, for a coffee with friends, to learn a new skill or perfect an old one and to feel at home within an accessible and exciting centre for arts and learning.”
The transformation of Worcester Arts Workshop has begun with a fresh new look in the public spaces, including ‘The Third Space’ a performance area created within the Cafe and Bar. The result is a bright and open social space, a welcoming atmosphere and the ideal space for live music and events.
Visitors to Worcester Arts Workshop on the evening of the launch event were invited to explore the space, as well as enjoy short excerpts of dance, comedy and theatre, giving a taste of the style, energy and diversity of what’s to come at Worcester Arts Workshop.
Evening highlights included performances from Vamos Theatre Company, who reside at Worcester Arts Workshop, Break Mission, Kidderminster College, Translucent Youth Dance Company, live music and comedian Barbara Nice. The outdoor terrace was put in the spotlight, with a spectacular fire breathing display from Talulah Blue.
Director of Transformation, Hannah Phillips and Mayor of Worcester Councillor Jabbar Riaz said a few words during the event, all hosted by BBC Hereford and Worcester’s Tammy Gooding.
In his speech, The Mayor of Worcester made reference to the history of Worcester Arts Workshop as an inclusive organisation, which has welcomed all members of the community.
In a statement given prior to the event Councillor Jabbar Riaz said; “I look forward to seeing Worcester Arts Workshop grow as a creative organisation that supports and welcomes all the residents of Worcester and its surroundings, helping to unite our community.”
Hannah Phillips added; “I am very grateful for the support of our investors and advocates, the achievements we have made so far would not have been possible without their generosity. With hard work and their continuous support, Worcester Arts Workshop is re-emerging as the leading inclusive arts and learning centre for a diverse future generation of artists, audiences and participants in Worcester.”
Worcester Arts Workshop has received support and investment from Worcester City Council, The Elmley Foundation & Bransford Trust. Worcester County Council continues to provide their support and Worcester Arts Council has provided the new dance floor in the theatre space.
New partners the Virtual School and Severn Arts have provided funding for the launch event and will continue to provide support for further events through the year with young people and emerging artists, including an urban street arts festival and a regular open mic afternoon.
Thanks also go to Kidderminster College for their support with providing technical equipment in a partnership exchange for students using the space to rehearse and perform.
Chair of Worcester Arts Workshop, Anne Hannaford, joined the celebrations on Tuesday evening. She said; “It is incredibly exciting to see the changes already happening at Worcester Arts Workshop, and to know that we are beginning a new era for community arts in Worcester. We know we still have much to do, but the energy and commitment is here from everyone – our wonderful staff and volunteers, the Board of Trustees, and our supporters. We will create great art of all kinds – with, by and for the people of Worcester for the next 40 years”.
The two year transformation project, led by Hannah Phillips, will expand and enrich the programme on offer; helping to secure the future of a creative hub that provides an essential, inspiring space for the local community to learn in and enjoy.