Letchworth Arts Centre sets its sights on a new home
Letchworth Arts Centre is a step closer to becoming a regional centre of excellence for the arts, following Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation’s announcement of a five-year project to create a new purpose-built arts centre at the former Plinston Hall site.
Letchworth Arts Centre, whose attendance has doubled over the past four years, now welcomes 20,000 visitors per year and will need to relocate to a new venue as this growth continues. The multi-million pound arts centre will consist of a 300 seat multipurpose auditorium, gallery, practice and dance spaces and a café/ restaurant. The new centre hopes to attract as many as 100,000 visitors per year.
Maria Iredale, Chief Executive of Letchworth Arts Centre said: “Having worked hard to deliver arts activities in Letchworth for the past six years, we’re really excited to be part of this project and see our ambitions becoming a reality. This new venue will allow us to attract professional performances and bigger productions to Letchworth, taking the arts experience on to another level.”
The boost to arts activities will not have to wait for the new centre, as the Heritage Foundation looks to appoint an Arts and Cultural Development Manager later this year to drive forward new activities. Working with Letchworth Arts Centre, community groups and other partners, this new role will put Letchworth even more strongly on the arts and cultural map.
The project outline has been drawn up by a team led by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation and including North Hertfordshire District Council, North Hertfordshire College, the University of Hertfordshire and Letchworth Arts Centre. The detail will now be for the community to define, with consultation beginning early next year. Looking at the building from the inside out, each space will be designed to reflect the needs of the community and the arts world at large.
John Lewis, Chief Executive of the Heritage Foundation said: “This is an exciting step forward; having been working behind the scenes with our group of partners and advisers it’s great to share our ambitions with the community, especially as they will play such an important part in making the project a success.
As we work with partners to attract funding and deliver the scheme, community consultation and arts activities will be essential to prove that Letchworth Garden City is worth investing in.”
In the short term, the former Plinston Hall is being used by North Hertfordshire College as temporary teaching accommodation while its Hitchin campus is being redeveloped.