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Next step for Woolwich as a cultural destination

Published: 3 March 2019

Following the announcement in October that planning permission had been granted for the first phase of the Woolwich Creative District, the CEO of the Woolwich Creative District Trust has been appointed to lead the public and private event space.

The CEO is to be James Heaton, who leaves Nimax Theatres to take up the role in August. As the operations director at Nimax, Heaton is responsible for running six West End theatres; previously he was deputy director of operations for Camden’s Roundhouse.

Heaton is on the board of trustees for Wilton’s Music Hall and High House Production Park, he is also a Director of the commercial subsidiary of Battersea Arts Centre.

Phase 1 of the multi-million pound project to create a 15,000㎡ complex of theatres, dance studios and places to eat in South East London's Royal Arsenal historic buildings is due be completed during 2020.

Theatre company Punchdrunk, Europe's first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra Chineke! Orchestra, Woolwich-based Protein Dance and the Woolwich Print Fair are all slated to move into the Woolwich Creative District.

James Heaton said, “the Council’s incredible vision for the transformation of the Royal Arsenal site presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only for me, but more importantly for the communities of Woolwich and Greenwich and the cultural life of London. I’m honoured to have the task of bringing people together within the walls of these beautiful buildings to create something amazing, the impact of which will be felt far beyond them. It’s my dream job.”

As the Royal Borough of Greenwich's creative hub, the Woolwich Creative District will be a cultural resource for the local community as well as bringing audiences and visitors from a wider area, some of whom will make use of Crossrail which has a station on the site.

Sandra Giorgetti