Fundraising campaign launched as The Garage outlines ambitious plans for its future
10:26 08 September 2014
copyright: Archant 2014
It has been a vibrant creative hub for the past decade and today plans are being unveiled to “turbo-boost” The Garage’s future.
The Norwich centre is looking to raise £250,000 to revamp its Chapel Field North building, with the aim of widening its audiences, expanding its programme of shows, and building on the creative work it has been doing for last 10 years.
“If you look at how far we’ve come in the last 10 years, with an injection now it could turbo-boost us for the next 10 years, which means far more people involved and it could be world class,” said The Garage’s chief executive, Darren Grice, who will outline the plans at the venue’s 10th anniversary celebrations tonight.
“I think The Garage has the potential to be a really world class and significant organisation that really brings together local communities and the arts.”
He said the £250,000 – of which £80,000 is already pledged – would fund improvements to the building’s exterior, important upgrades to its studio theatre including improving the seating and hearing loops, and wheelchair-accessible changing facilities.
The Garage has undergone a rebrand and unveiled a new look for its anniversary, and the hope is this and the revamp of the front of the building will encourage people to look again.
Originally more of a rehearsal and education centre, The Garage now also presents a vibrant programme of professional theatre and has plans to create its own work to tour.
“From the outside you wouldn’t know we have a professional theatre programme and we do all the things we do. It looks a bit like a rehearsal space,” said Mr Grice.
“The key thing for us at the moment is to try to communicate better to people in Norwich and Norfolk about all the things that are available here and all the things they can do. We want to open the front of the building and make it look more like a venue – because when you get past that front door there is real magic that happens in here.”
The revamp will also celebrate the heritage of the building which was previously a coachworks and car showroom.
As well as attracting more audiences, The Garage hopes to encourage more artists to work at the venue which houses a studio theatre, dance studios and drama rehearsal space.
Mr Grice said they were keen to work with professional performers who were also open to collaborating and doing workshops with The Garage’s community, just as Little Bulb Theatre did when developing the show Squally Showers at The Garage ahead of going to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
“We’ve been talking about creating the east region’s incubation centre for performing arts made for, by and with children and young people. We’re particularly interested in artists that want to work with our young emerging artists, partly so they get to learn about working with artists and partly so they get to have a voice that goes into the work that’s created,” he said.
The Garage also has ambitions to make its own professional theatre to tour nationally.
Mr Grice said: “We want to create professional touring theatre that grows from local people, local stories, the views, thoughts, opinions of the people that are using this building.”
So far £80,000 has been pledged for The Garage’s fundraising campaign, with donations from the Town Close Charity (£60,000), The Paul Bassham Charitable Trust (£15,000), and the Charles Littlewood Hill Trust (£5,000).
To find how to donate email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01603 283382.