Telford's landmark Anstice building given £14,000 to find out how it should be used
Bosses at Telford's landmark Anstice building have been given more than £14,000 to explore what it should be used for.
The money has been awarded by Arts Council England and will be spent towards a project to find out exactly what the community in Madeley, where the building is based, will enjoy.
The historic building will reopen to the public in February after shutting nearly a year ago for a £1.1 million refurbishment.
Those behind the project said they wanted to see the Anstice become a fun, accessible and educational place for everyone to enjoy, and that it would help develop and grow interests in the creative arts, offering regular high quality theatre, dance, music activities and performances.
Gemma Aston, Director of The Anstice, said “This is such an amazing opportunity for us to really understand our community and ensure we are offering a programme that not only entertains, but also inspires interest and engagement in creativity which we know contributes to a sense of wellbeing, empowerment and community pride.
"We are delighted that the Arts Council chose to fund our project and recognises our genuine ambitions for a creative Madeley.”
Gemma and her team are currently developing the programme for 2020.
She said “Alongside a fun and varied creative arts programme we are also excited to welcome back our evening bingo sessions and many other classes, entertainment genres and activities that we are confident will appeal to everyone.”
To kick-start the project, The Anstice is welcoming community members to come along to Madeley Library on December 13 between 1pm and 4pm, and on December 14 between 10am and 1pm.
The fun, informal workshop will include a festive drink and a mince pie.
Gemma said: "“These initial sessions will be vitally important to help us begin to understand our community’s ideas, interests and expectations and to find out what we can do to make this happen. If you would like to come along and take part in this exciting project, please contact me."
Anybody interested in getting involved can email Gemma via firstname.lastname@example.org
The Anstice opens officially to the general public on February 15, with a week of taster sessions, performances and activities.
For more information visit theanstice.co.uk
Built in 1870 to honour mine owner, industrialist and philanthropist John Anstice, the building has been key to the fabric of the community throughout its history.
Over the years The Anstice building became the home to Madeley Library, Lloyds Bank, a dentist, Madeley Rest Room and also provided a place for entertainment, education and socialising.
In its heyday the Anstice Ballroom was famous for having ‘the best sprung floor outside Blackpool’. Lots of Madeley couples have fond memories of meeting and courting at The Anstice and club membership peaked at almost 3,000 in the early 70s.