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First audience for new theatre

Archived press release

Date Published: 17/10/08

Local young people, supported by artist Stuart McLellan, devised the concept for the artwork

Local young people, supported by artist Stuart McLellan, devised the concept for the artwork

Although it’ll be around another year before the new Aylesbury Waterside Theatre is completed, its first audience is ready and waiting – on the hoardings around the building site.

Aylesbury Vale District Council asked Aylesbury Youth Action, a local community group that works out of the Queen’s Park Art Centre, to come up with an art project for the hoardings.

A group of 10 young people, supported by local artist Stuart McLellan, devised the concept for the artwork, entitled Audience. They went on to obtain funding for the project from the Youth Opportunities Fund and recruited around 120 other young people to help them create the mural.

The work depicts an audience drawn from local people that the young artists know and includes historical figures and a few celebrities from the world of entertainment for good measure.

The colourful mural, which is 40 metres long and nearly two-and-a-half metres tall, will be officially unveiled by the Chairman of AVDC, Councillor Netta Glover, on 22 October.

Councillor John Cartwright, Leader of the Council, said: “The hoardings around the building site offer us a blank canvas to bring alive the theatre story and excite everyone about what is happening on site. Placing artwork on the hoardings is an important part of our communication with the local community to engage them with the theatre project, and I’m delighted that so many young people have had the opportunity to be involved. They have demonstrated not only pride in their community but also a real enthusiasm for the new theatre.”

Mark Chamberlain, the Willmott Dixon project director responsible for the new theatre, said: “It’s good to see so many young people enthused by the project. The artwork they have created is really vibrant and we are looking forward to engaging with more community groups whilst the scheme is under construction.”

The new theatre, located in Exchange Street, will replace Aylesbury Civic Centre. Facilities will include a 1,200-seat main auditorium which converts into a 1,800-capacity hall and a 220-seat suite for smaller events.

The venue, designed by architects RHWL, is expected to attract 300,000 people from the region each year when open.

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