Arts centre plan gets backing from famous Royston names

PUBLISHED: 08:32 28 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 28 January 2016

Carrie Grant.

Carrie Grant.

Archant

Plans to create a purpose-built arts centre for Royston have been backed by creative kingpins from the town who have carved out successful careers in the creative industry.

Alison BalsomAlison Balsom

Television personality and voice coach Carrie Grant, who is best know for her work on Fame Academy and The One Show, told the Crow the centre – planned for the site of the old Meridian Upper School swimming pool – would bring an ‘inspirational focus’ to Royston.

The former Meridian pupil said: “I think the town would benefit massively from an arts centre. Music and drama should be a fundamental part of a child’s life, not an add on.

“When I was growing up in Royston in my teens, I had to go to Cambridge or London. It would have been amazing to have something on my doorstep.”

Trumpet virtuoso and champion of musical education Alison Balsom is also firmly behind the project.

Danny BryantDanny Bryant

She said: “The arts continue to be such an important part of what’s making Royston grow in popularity as a place to live, work and raise children.

“Royston has many inspiring leaders in various areas of the arts, and many important initiatives for both education and culture in general -–an extraordinary achievement given its modest size as a town.

“However, despite being home to some wonderful projects, concerts, exhibitions and shows, it is widely acknowledged that there is now a real need for a new centre for the community – a new artistic chapter in order to celebrate all that is great in Royston and the surrounding areas.

“Now it really looks like this could change, and add so much value to the town as a whole.

“A new arts centre that benefits from the latest technology and purpose built architecture will share those benefits equally with many fine organisations, and the widest possible cross section of the community.”

Comedian Terry Mynott, blues and rock guitarist Danny Bryant and theatre director Robin Belfield have also pledged their support for the fledgling project.

The arts centre has gained backing from local groups too – about 40 people from various clubs turned up to an ideas meeting earlier this month.

Meridian assistant head David Atkins said: “There was a really good representation of groups, from photography, music and dance, as well as faces from the museum, CADS and Creative Royston.

“There were some strong questions. Everyone at that meeting thought it would be a great idea and there are already 16 people keen to join the committee.

“There were all sorts of suggestions – such as making the building eco-friendly by using recycled materials, and a proposal to incorporate an outdoor exhibition area.”

The next step is to put together more concrete plans and to create a feasibility study.

Mr Atkins is also calling on people with experience in applying for arts funding to get involved, as their skills would be really beneficial to get the ball rolling.

If you are interested in joining the team or to find out more, email r.bartholomew@rsat.org.uk.

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