Chief Executive, Vanessa Lefrancois was invited to speak at the Theatres Trust’s conference on Theatres and Placemaking at London’s Hammersmith Lyric this October, to talk about the redevelopment of The Brewhouse Theatre.
There were a host of speakers in attendance with inspirational case studies ranging from cultural organisations and social enterprises, to policy makers and council planners. The Brewhouse were invited to discuss arts venues; their impact, influence and effect on local communities, their role in influencing how we think, behave and interact, and how theatres as public spaces help form the identity of a village, town or city.
Speakers from many UK regions attended and advised how each many area face different challenges across the country, and spoke with passion and determination, about how cultural institutes had transformed places and lives instilling a sense of pride and belonging in local communities. In particular, Paul Callaghan CBE, spoke of the regeneration of the old Edwardian heart of Sunderland, now emerging as the Music, Arts and Cultural Quarter next to Sunderland’s university campus. Also the extraordinary conversion of the 1930’s art deco Odeon in Chester, into a multiplex arts centre called Storyhouse.
Vanessa’s speech focused on the re-emergence of The Brewhouse, the importance of not taking arts and culture for granted, the potential for the ambitious redevelopment to improve the well-being of local communities, and to act as a catalyst for inner town regeneration and create a distinctive, attractive and welcoming identity for Taunton.