Putting Art at the Heart of the Community
Photo credits: Assen Emilov, Handa’s Surprise Little Angel Theatre, Gareth Gardner
This month, we are delighted to be sponsoring a class of pupils from Ferry Lane Primary School to attend an upcoming theatre production to experience the wonderful world of theatre and we couldn’t think of a better place for the pupils to visit than Bernie Grant Arts Centre.
Based just a five-minute walk from Seven Sisters and ten minutes from central London, Bernie Grant Art Centre has been spearheading the development of culturally diverse artists, inspired by the late great Bernie Grant MP.
We found out more from Pete Courtie, Chief Executive of Bernie Grant Arts Centre about the venue and what’s coming up this year…
Could you tell us a bit about Bernie Grant Art Centre and how it was founded?
The Bernie Grant Art Centre is a multi-arts centre that opened its doors 10 years ago in memory of Bernie Grant MP who represented the area and aspired to create a venue to showcase international multicultural talent across a diverse range of backgrounds.
The centre which is funded by the GLA, Haringey Council and the Arts Council, is a set of three truly fantastic buildings located in Tottenham. The Centre is one of the area’s most unique and welcoming spaces and offers a 274-seat auditorium, a bar and café, and studio space. The café has recently been reinvigorated so it’s well worth a visit!
What does the Centre offer to the residents of Tottenham?
The Centre hosts a full calendar of theatre, dance, live music, comedy, cinema, and exhibitions in collaboration with local artists, as well as some of London’s biggest names. We also work with a range of artists and visiting companies to deliver creative learning programmes at the Centre, in the local community and in Haringey schools.
Recently Anthology helped us to reach out to Ferry Lane Primary School who will be bringing a class to experience the magical and interactive ‘Small Wonders’ show in June which will explore the power of our imagination and how the little things in life are sometimes the most important.
We are lucky to be able to offer 20 creative workspaces which are tucked away behind the theatre building. These are available to creative small businesses and are often used by the upcoming generation of artists, designers and makers.
Our colourful café and bar is a fantastic place to enjoy a pre or post theatre dinner which boasts a delicious Caribbean lunch and evening menu including vegetarian and vegan options, as well as a host of cakes, hot beverages and alcoholic tipples.
Who makes up the BGAC team?
We have a brilliant small core team who are supported by a whole raft of staff including front of house and technical.
We are very proud to be able to offer training and volunteer opportunities to local residents to take up roles within the centre including apprenticeships in technical and digital marketing.
What main highlight events do you have coming up this year?
There is really something for every taste at Bernie Grant Arts Centre whether that’s live music, comedy theatre, dance or films - our boutique cinema is one not to miss showing some unique films!
We are really looking forward to a night of comedy talent on 17th May with award winning comedians aplenty, as we welcome Sindhu Vee (BBC Radio 4), Michael Odewale (BBC New Talent Hot List 2017), Bisha K Ali, Twix and Twayna Mayne. That should be sure to uplift anyone’s mood!
Each Wednesday across the Spring we will also be helping to beat those mid-week blues with our eclectic music series offering everything from samba to reggae, folk and West African kora.
In June, we will be hosting not one but two performances as part of LIFT 2018: SESSION, a collaboration between our resident companies Empire Sounds and Steppaz with Still House, as well as Small Wonders, a breathtaking immersive experience for children from Punchdrunk, the world-famous creators of Sleep No More and The Drowned Man.
We love that the Centre also acts as a community base for local people to host their own array of classes from street dance to yoga and tiny tots and to comedy workshops – everyone is welcome, so we look forward to seeing you.
What do you enjoy most about living and working in Tottenham?
Tottenham is a real hidden gem which in my opinion is undervalued and under-represented. The area is dynamic and vibrant which is all due to the truly diverse community that sits at the heart of the area.
There is a huge array of bars, restaurants and venues in the borough that reflects this diversity and the architecture dotted around the area is a real set to behold – it’s beautiful!
Thanks to the convenient transport connections, you can be in Stratford or West London in ten minutes and as a result we are seeing more and more people visit Bernie Grant Arts Centre from further afield. This is great as we want everyone to be able to enjoy and experience the many talents making their mark at the Centre.
If you would like to keep on top of all the events and activities at Bernie Grant Arts Centre then visit www.berniegrantcentre.co.uk where you can also sign up to their mailing list. You can find them on Facebook (@berniregrantcetnre), Twitter (@BGACentre) and Instagram (@bgacentre2007).