Arts Council England cash boost for Arts Centre Washington

Arts Council England cash boost for Arts Centre Washington

Leading local arts venue Arts Centre Washington has been awarded a total of £257,609 from Arts Council England and The National Lottery

The funding will be used to substantially improve facilities .by upgrading and better equipping main event spaces including the art gallery and theatre. Plans also include improvements to ancillary facilities to help ensure audiences and artists visiting the centre have the best possible experience.

The project will also be partially match funded by with a further £45,000 investment from Sunderland City Council who own and manage the centre.

Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly: “This is fantastic news for Arts Centre, Washington. Our aim is to help ensure that the centre becomes a thriving, sustainable and resilient arts hub. By improving the facilities and the experience of our visiting artists, resident groups and visitors we hope to see greater engagement in the arts by local communities.

The centre is already enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds and this funding will ensure it is improved and upgraded so we can continue to deliver great theatre, art and performance across the city and region.”

Owned and managed by Sunderland City Council, the centre consists of converted 19th century farm buildings redeveloped in provide a centre for arts and culture in the vision for Washington New Town

Originally called Biddick Farm Arts Centre, it has undergone several incarnations to become what is now a vibrant multi-purpose arts centre that hosts a theatre, gallery, rehearsal rooms, studios for creative industry tenants, recording studio, dance studio, art workshop café and an award winning bar. 

Arts Centre Washington’s Creative Director Helen Green said: “We are absolutely delighted with this news.  We have some really special atmospheric spaces at the arts centre converted from old stone farm buildings, that artists love to work in and our community love to visit.  This funding will enable the arts centre to join the 21st century with providing bang up to date equipment and facilities that address the needs of all our visitors”.

Over recent years the centre has developed key priorities in the areas of work, for, by and with children and young people; the development of emerging artists across all art forms and the development of original innovative theatre in Sunderland, culminating in this year’s fantastic ‘Sunderland Stages’ project .

Jane Tarr, Director North, Arts Council England commented: “Arts Centre Washington is a great resource for Sunderland and the local community and I'm delighted that it has been awarded funding through our Capital programme. Our funding will help the organisation to upgrade its main event spaces ensuring artists and audiences have the best experience possible and that the centre becomes a thriving and resilient arts hub.”

Find out more about Arts Centre Washington.

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Blockbuster West End shows are staged at the Sunderland Empire, the biggest theatre between Edinbugh and Manchester.


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