Dateline: 29th February, 2004
News from the Midlands
Lottery grant brings new arts venue a step closer
Nottingham's dream of getting a new arts venue is a step closer after the city secured a provisional £5million grant from the Arts Lottery Fund.
The Centre for Visual and Live Arts, which will include galleries, performing and rehearsal space and artists' studios, is expected to create 200 jobs.
The project will cost £13million, £8million of which has already been secured. A site in the trendy Lace Market has been earmarked for the centre which is a partnership between the city and county councils and Nottingham's two universities.
Building should start in September 2005, with the centre due to be completed two years later. It is expecting to welcome 550,000 visitors in its first year, half of them from outside the region.
Michael Williams, corporate director of leisure and community services, said: "This is a huge boost to Nottingham's growing reputation as a vibrant, multicultural city with a buzzing arts scene. This top-class project will help promote the city nationally and internationally."
Gary Smerdon-White, chairman of tourism organisation Experience Nottingham, added: "With our strong reputation and active community involvement in contemporary arts, this is the best cultural news Nottingham and the surrounding area could have. Another high-quality cultural attraction will bring more visitors to Nottingham and contribute to the aim of being a 21st century European city of distinction."
Derby top of the league for drama
Derby Playhouse has announced that drama attendances are at their best for a decade.
The theatre which almost faced closure two years ago because of a £400,000 trading deficit has reported that 2003 was one of its most successful years ever.
Audience figures for drama last year were more than 60,000 compared with under 20,000 the previous year.
A theatre spokesman said: "Our first full year under the new artistic leadership of Stephen Edwards and Karen Louise Hebden has been one of the most successful in the theatre's history.
"A more varied programme of work, incorporating multi-media, music and dance, has succeeded in broadening the diversity of our audience and improved attendance across the board.
"Unparalleled success in fund-raising over the year has generated vital revenue funding. The total raised so far exceeds previous yearly totals but this success will be a hard act to follow for forthcoming years without the continued support of individuals and public, private and charitable organisations."
Prospero, Medea and Everyman on stage at the Arena
Midland Actors' Theatre will be presenting Prospero's Island at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton on Tuesday, March 16th.
David Calcutt's new play, inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest, follows the Bard in mixing tragedy with scenes of knockabout comedy and farce.
Prospero is shipwrecked on an enchanted island, ruled over by a mighty sorceress, Sycorax. She teaches him the power of her magic - but Prospero uses it to steal the island from her.
Prospero's Island features an all-black cast and is said to be "an inventive homage to Shakespeare and a remarkable play in its own right".
The following evening Company Collisions will be staging Medea at the Arena.
Drawing on Japanese Buto movement techniques and choral work in the original Greek, this has been described as a "strongly visual and physical interpretation of Euripides' story which does not compromise his text."
Everyman - An Immorality Play is a metaphysical farce that takes splinters of the original parable and reinvents it for the modern age.
Written by Goran Stefanovski, it will be presented at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton, on Thursday, March 18th at 7.30pm.
Stefanovski is one of the top writers in Macedonia. His prize-winning plays are widely produced internationally.
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