NGYT are delighted to announce our partnership with Luton Culture. On a Monday and Tuesday The Hat Factory is now home to our Theatre and Dance Company and we are loving our new venue. Everyone has been so welcoming and it’s great to finally have a venue we can call our own.
Without the support, energy and belief from Ellen Waghorn this would not have been possible so we thought we’d run a little feature about one of our favourite adopted Luton creatives.
Q1. So Ellen Waghorn (Luton legend) for those who don’t know you (shame) fancy giving us a little bio all about you and your journey to Luton?
Well, I’m originally from Cornwall, and moved to London to train as a musical theatre performer. After finishing my training I worked as an actor and got to perform in some amazing places with great people. I somehow blundered into production by touring a small scale musical in 2011 and really enjoyed it. I loved being able to fix problems and make sure that everything turned out alright on the night. I found it a really fulfilling experience so I decided to diversify my skills by working in marketing in Ipswich for The New Wolsey Theatre and then I luckily became a trainee producer at The Hat Factory. I’ve learnt a lot from my time in Luton (I’ve lived here for three years now) and have met some absolutely lovely people.
Favourite Lutonian? Difficult choice but I’m going to go with Addie Akinrinade, an NGYT-er. I love working with her; Motivated, creative and most importantly a lovely person.
Favourite Luton eatery? Wigmore chippy – that is some good comfort food. Always good quality and friendly, I don’t even mind queuing!
Favourite Luton Shop? Not strictly a shop but Flamingo Arts in Hightown is a brill place with a space for arts workshops and meetings,
Favourite Luton Pub? George 2nd is across the road from The Hat Factory so for a swift pint I go there.
Favourite Luton Fact? Fastest broadband!…..and the story of someone playing ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’ on a piano outside town hall during the Peace Day Riots after World War One….if you don’t know it google it!
Q3. We believe partnerships and collaborations are the only way to truly achieve big things so why have you worked so hard to form a partnership with Luton Culture and NGYT?
NGYT was one for the first organisations I came into contact with when I moved to Luton 3 years ago. I met David and Laura and loved how positive and proactive they were. I wrote up the first proposal for a partnership 2 years ago! First impressions mean a lot and so does the quality of someone’s work. Having watched NGYT go from strength to strength over the past few years I would be a fool not to work hard for you to join us in partnership.
Q4. As we both know it is not opportunities and events and festivals and performances that are lacking in Luton; there is plenty to do and see for Arts lovers however sadly audience numbers are still relatively low. How do you envisage achieving a thriving Arts scene with huge numbers of Lutonians in attendance? This is a 3 point answer
· Consistency. Regular events of great quality. We want our venues to be the first place you think of when you want to go/do/see or learn about something whether it is heritage, theatre, visual arts and to do this, there has to be great art and culture produced and shown from local people and exceptional visiting companies as often as possible.
· Marketing has an important role to play and we have a relatively new team working hard to ensure you know that great things are happening. They are brilliant and making a major difference already.
· Participation, the more people engaged with or working on projects the more people we can reach and show that creativity is for everyone, not just artists or posh people……sometimes the word art can be scary if you aren’t already one of the ‘initiated’, we need to allow everyone to see that great art, is part of being a community and is a great thing to share with others.
Q5. So for people who may not be too familiar with Luton Culture please fill them in.
Luton Culture is a Charitable Trust (and registered charity) we run The Hat Factory Arts Centre, Wardown House Museum and Stockwood Discovery Centre as well as libraries and community centres including Luton Central Library which has Luton Library Theatre on its Third floor. Our mission is to provide great arts and cultural activity for Luton. This can be anything from baby rhyme time in our libraries to hosting a performance from a circus group in The Hat Factory or curating an exhibition from the collections in our museums.
Q6. Within your role you have played a huge part in bringing some wonderful entertainment and theatre to the town. What highlights are coming up? What would you recommend?
Spilikin, it has a robot in it that answers a Q&A at the end, AMAZING tech. Plus it is a story about love and also dementia. Truly touching and an amazing view. It is on April 4th 2017.
We have our biggest ever season in Spring 2017 so please delve into the brochure (out soon!) and find something you like….NGYT is in there too!
Q7. Why should someone that has never been to a Luton Culture event or performance attend?
We preach regularly about the benefits of the Arts and would love to share a fresh perspective. If you are an artist, then you owe it to yourself to immerse in any and all creative activity, it helps give you perspective on your work. If you are not, then it makes an excellent change from watching TV or playing computer games…..visiting a museum is a great family activity, going to your library is the cheapest possible way to absorb info and (my personal favourite) theatre is a one off. No one else will ever see that particular performance again, those actors will never to those lines and scenes exactly as in that performance. They were performing FOR you……I mean, it still blows my mind. Theatre is magical.
Q8. Where and how can people keep updated with What’s going on? What can the NGYT family do to support Luton Culture and our joint push to make sure Luton becomes a place known for Creativity and a thriving Artistic Culture?
Visit our website www.lutonculture.com there is information about our programme in all of our venues there. The new brochure will be out soon. Pick it up! Take it home, show your friends and family, convince someone to give something a try.
Word of mouth is our strongest ally in this. Tell people about our venues, shows, exhibitions and KEEP telling people, reply to our facebook posts and tweets, like our pages and put posts up about the things you’ve seen or done in our venues. It takes three mentions for a new concept/idea/place to enter someone’s consciousness so keep on keeping on!