Newhampton Arts Centre remains city's 'creative engine' despite Covid challenges

A former old school building remains a hub for all members of the community, despite lockdown challenges.

Children joining in activities with Future Bubblers (Image: Clare Hannan)
Children joining in activities with Future Bubblers (Image: Clare Hannan)

Newhampton Arts Centre, on Dunkley Street in Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton, has become home to a variety of groups, from amateur dramatics, mother and baby groups, fitness, Bhangra and even a local radio station.

During lockdown, the centre was affected and forced to close in March to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and like many other venues in the arts industry was hit hard by the lack of visitors coming through its doors.

Despite the Government’s emergency funding package, it is still a desperately worrying time for the cultural sector.

NAC, like many organisations up and down the country, has no idea when it will be able to resume concerts and theatre shows.

Newhampton Arts Centre (Image: Jamie Baker)

Trevelyan Wright, CEO of Newhampton Arts Centre, said: “Over the last twenty years NAC has become a key part of Wolverhampton’s cultural scene and an invaluable resource for artists, teachers and the public.

“Like all theatres and cultural venues it was forced to close in mid-March and saw its box office, bar and room hire income completely disappear.

Children joining in activities with Future Bubblers (Image: Clare Hannan)

“We have stayed open to allow the radio station to continue broadcasting, and many of our other residents are now resuming activities in their spaces.

“This activity however does not replace the lost income from shows, and we are very grateful that Arts Council England, who already fund NAC, have awarded us an additional £41,000 in Emergency Funding.

Visitors enjoying activities on offer (Image: Jamie Baker)

“This will help us stabilise our finances and protect the site while we plan a return to live events and courses and classes later in the year.”

NAC residents stepped up to the challenges they faced during lockdown, with many moving activities online to ensure their members weren’t missing out.

Clare Hannan from Future Bubblers in the centre's courtyard (Image: Clare Hannan)

Fit Momma’s LTD, artist Hannah Boyd, diddi dance, NichoFitPT, Bollywood Dreams, Stage Coach, Take a Bow Drama group, and Zest for Pilates have all been offering a range of online classes as face-to-face contact remains limited.

Mr Wright added: “It has become one of the Midlands’ most-loved small music venues.”

Staff are continuing to work hard behind the scenes, resuming progress ready to fully open once again and keep NAC firmly on the map as Wolverhampton’s cultural hub.

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