With support from Arts Council, the Ballroom at Fenton Town Hall has been restored and reopened as a new civic arts venue for Stoke-on-Trent.
Having secured almost 87,000 of National Lottery funding from Arts Council in December 2020, Restoke began work to restore and repair the 3,500ft-square ballroom, in the building which also houses a community caf and several creative and social enterprises.
With further funding from Stoke-on-Trent's Community Investment Fund and Severn Trent Community Fund, and support from a team of volunteers, the ballroom has been transformed. The space now has a renewable energy heating system, new lift, a hearing loop, double glazing, electric and lights and newly painted interiors. The timber dance floor has also been restored to its former glory.
Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director for Arts Council England yesterday said:
We're so pleased to have invested in this project through funding from the National Lottery, giving people in Stoke a fantastic new space to enjoy arts, music, dance and creativity.
We're proud to champion the role creativity plays in bringing communities together, and as we look forward to building our support for the cultural and creative sector in Stoke over the coming years.
Kids Fentonia (c) Restoke
Clare Reynolds, Co-Director for Restoke yesterday said:
"This project is the realisation of a long-standing dream to have our own space to run our programmes, rehearse our shows, create more opportunities, and be more useful to our community and other artists.
We are privileged to be building on the community spirit and activism around Fenton Town Hall. The Ballroom will become a civic arts venue - a space for people to come together in a whole host of ways. This will be particularly important as we collectively recover from the social isolation of the pandemic."
Restoke celebrated the Ballroom's restoration with opening event, KIDS FENTONIA designed and hosted by 15 children from Fenton, supported by artist Megan Clark-Bagnall. They have also relaunched all Restoke's existing workshops there, including a performance by Greenhouse Theatre UK, and are providing free space for local artists.
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