As Warrington town centre’s entertainment venues, museum and library prepare for restrictions to be reduced and reopening after the Covid-19 pandemic, Warrington BID has welcomed a new report which puts arts and culture at the heart of the town centre’s recovery and regeneration.
The cultural sector has taken a massive hit due to Covid-19, with performances cancelled, venues like Parr Hall, Pyramid and cinemas mothballed, exhibitions closed and much-loved festivals abandoned. However, the report by Warrington Borough Council shows how cultural organisations and creative individuals working with innovation and creativity have adapted to the constantly changing circumstances. With venues closed for almost 12 months, Warrington’s creative communities came together to find new ways of reaching audiences and keeping the people of the borough entertained, during an extremely difficult year.
Highlights of the past year include:
- Highly-acclaimed theatre company, Not Too Tame, produced ‘Local Legends’, a series of online monologues delivered by well-known actors from the region. Based on stories from people across the north-west and turned into scripts by acclaimed writers, the project raised vital support for Warrington charities helping people affected by Covid-19. The series will be aired again this month as part of Culture Warrington’s digital offer – Local Legends – A Digital Mini Series.
- Walton Hall was used to bring wartime stories to life as part of a series of emotional monologues, commissioned by the council through Heritage Lottery funding. The series was filmed by production company Ludovico to mark VE Day and captured the experiences of people during the Second World War, inspired by recollections held in Warrington Museum.
- Warrington’s renowned Contemporary Arts Festival celebrated 10 years with a revamped Open Competition with additional prize money, a panel of expert judges and applications from across the whole spectrum of contemporary arts, including dance, spoken word, installation art, film, visual arts and photography.
- Cultural organisations and creative individuals secured over £400,000 in emergency grant funding for the arts to provide them with a lifeline during the pandemic, to protect jobs and to allow them to develop new ways of working while venues were closed.
Warrington BID Manager, Nick White said, ‘Warrington’s cultural venues and events are crucial to the health and happiness of the borough and making the town centre an attractive and vibrant place for visitors whilst driving footfall to our great retail and hospitality offer. It’s great to see how businesses have innovated, become resilient and been supported during such a difficult time. We welcome Warrington Borough Council’s commitment to delivering an exciting, diverse and inclusive programme that we can all be proud of and play our part as we look to the future, reopening high streets safely and successfully in the weeks and months ahead.
You can read the full Cultural Framework 2020-2025 on the council website at warrington.gov.uk/cultural-framework