Weston Focus

News for Weston-super-Mare Central Ward from local councillors Mike Bell and Robert Payne : serving you on North Somerset Council and Weston-super-Mare Town Council Learn more

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Weston on the map for arts and culture

by mikebell on 16 May, 2018

Since Banksy brought Dismaland to the Tropicana in 2015, Weston-super-Mare has continued to develop its role as a significant coastal arts and culture destination. This has become a key element of North Somerset Council’s regeneration and growth plans for the town. As a result, the town is now being supported by Arts Council England as more work begins to develop a long-lasting cultural offer to benefit locals and visitors alike.

Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Darren Henley, will visit Weston-super-Mare on Friday 18 May to see for himself some of the cultural activity already on offer in the town and discuss the potential for further development.

North Somerset Council has been working with Arts Council England South West (ACE SW) over the past two years to explore opportunities for projects and funding for arts initiatives. ACE SW have allocated £50,000 towards establishing a cultural development company for Weston-super-Mare and have identified the town’s cultural development as a south west priority for 2018-20. They have also introduced four national arts organisations to the town who are now in discussion with the council about establishing projects in Weston.

Friday’s itinerary will include visits to the Tropicana, Italian Gardens, The Stable Creative Hub, the Heritage Action Zone, Blakehay Theatre and Old Town Quarry.

Since Dismaland, the Tropicana has hosted successive seasons of theatre, music and performance art alongside its more traditional leisure offer. The Italian Gardens in the town centre has been completely redesigned as an outdoor performance space and has provided a hub for street performance events over the past year, while the Playhouse Theatre and Blakehay Theatre continue to offer a varied programme of theatre attracting audiences from across the region.

During the visit, Arts Council England will meet representatives from North Somerset Council and the local arts community.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “As the national development agency for the arts, museums and libraries in England, a large part of our role is to support the development of the sector and to work at a local level to ensure that arts and culture are integrated into communities. So we’re delighted to be working with partners in Weston to advance a shared cultural agenda and increase opportunities for communities and audiences in Weston and North Somerset to create and experience high quality arts and cultural activities.

“We’re very pleased to have just welcomed Theatre Orchard into our National Portfolio and are excited by their commitment to make North Somerset a more dynamic and stimulating place to live, work and visit. We look forward to working with them, and other local partners, to achieve this aim.”

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