Shropshire Star

Award-winning centre to celebrate 40th anniversary with open day

Festival Drayton Centre will celebrate its 40th anniversary with an open event on June 8.


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The award-winning arts and community centre on Frogmore Road is inviting residents to join them as they highlight their historic successes, honour past and present volunteers, and showcase their facilities.

The centre's café will be serving food from 10am until 2pm. There will also be live music and dance performances in the auditorium, as well as displays of material from their archives.

The community-owned centre opened in 1984 when a redundant chapel and adjacent cottage was listed on the market.

Members of the voluntary association which ran Market Drayton’s annual street festival saw an opportunity to create a permanent theatre and cinema.

The members earned 50 signatures of support at a meeting, and this will be on show at the anniversary celebration.

In 2006, the centre was honoured as the 'Best Regional Winner' of the West Midlands Market Town Awards, in recognition of the most outstanding Market Towns Project.

The local hub welcomes more than 140,000 people each year for dance classes, martial arts, adult educational courses, and to its state of the art cinema.

Chair of Trustees, Geoff Vernon is extremely grateful to the volunteers who give their time to the centre.

He said: "It’s our volunteers who create the vitality, warmth, and sense of community which visitors recognise and appreciate.

"Visiting artists also overwhelmingly 'get' what our ethos and attitude is. And they respond to that by giving us their best performances.

"That’s true all the way from magician Paul Daniels to stand up Tom Allen, from rock band China Crisis to crooner Tony Christie."

World-renowned soprano Leslie Garrett added: "What a treasure this place is. It’s the best small theatre of its kind that I’ve ever worked with."

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