Artspace opens its doors to the town

FINISHING TOUCHES: David Wood MBE in the new Artspace area at the Dewsbury Arts Group. (d07091110)
FINISHING TOUCHES: David Wood MBE in the new Artspace area at the Dewsbury Arts Group. (d07091110)

A NEW home for theatre, music and the arts is celebrating its official opening by inviting the community in.

Dewsbury Arts Group’s Artspace brings together a theatre, studio space, rehearsal rooms and a state-of-the-art recording studio.

It is the result of a £160,000 investment which has seen the group’s premises in Lower Peel Street extended and widely renovated.

Chairman David Wood MBE said members were putting in a huge amount of work before opening to the public next weekend.

“They’ve have been working hard at painting and patching up,” he said. “It’s gone on all over the summer since the last play of the 2010/11 season.

“They’re very pleased with what we’ve done so far but it’s an ongoing job.”

Amy Walsworth, a member with the group for five years, said: “It’s really nice to see that it’s blossomed over so many years. It’s massive now.

“It’s particularly nice for all the youth classes now that come to be to able to take advantage of it.”

One of the last jobs was to create a new entrance area and foyer to welcome visitors and theatre-goers.

Mr Wood said: “We wanted to make the entrance impressive which meant new walls, ceilings and lighting throughout.”

The foyer will host an exhibition of old playbills, photographs and programmes of productions during the open weekend.

Visitors can tour the venue, have a go at operating the theatre’s lights and sound systems, make original music in the studio and watch five minute plays, musical performance and readings.

The open weekend also coincides with this year’s HOST event, which opens up artists’ studios.

To mark the occasion, several of the group’s artist members will be set up studios in the Artspace over the weekend, giving visitors the chance to watch them at work.

Mr Wood said the new facilities would help the group to offer more activities.

“We’re increasing ourselves what we’re doing,” he said.

“We’re including things like play readings and we hope to offer some opportunities for people to come along and sing.

“The recording studio is a facility for the group but we’ve already had a school in who wanted to do some recording. We’re hoping that the word will get round and others will use it too.”

The Artspace was funded by a successful appeal by the group’s presidents as well as grants from Dewsbury Area Committee, Biffaward and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

The Artspace will be open to the public on September 17 and 18, 10.30am-5pm.