New arts centre opened

PUBLISHED: 17:07 07 June 2007 | UPDATED: 21:42 29 May 2010

A BRAND new arts facility in Dunmow had its official opening on Sunday. Arts Centre (Dunmow), based at Haslers Lane, is being run by mother and daughter Jacky and Mikki Rom, and Hollie O Brien. They described it as an art centre for everyone to use and ha

A BRAND new arts facility in Dunmow had its official opening on Sunday.

Arts Centre (Dunmow), based at Haslers Lane, is being run by mother and daughter Jacky and Mikki Rom, and Hollie O'Brien.

They described it as an art centre for everyone to use and has five different studios, one with mirrors and ballet bars, a Harlequin sprung moveable dance floor. It is hoped that a 120-seat studio theatre will be in place within the year.

Artistic director Mikki, said: "We first realised that Dunmow needed a facility like this when Scene II Theatre School, which used to be based at Great Dunmow Primary School, outgrew itself. We tried all of the suitable venues in the town but everywhere was booked up.

"We were in the position to do something like this and we thought why not."

The official opening was carried out by Mayor of Dunmow Carol James who cut a ribbon before giving a speech to the 250 strong crowd in which she said how good she thought the project was and how lucky the town was to have such a superb facility.

This was followed by a performance of a Grease Megamix by 20 Scene II Theatre School senior students. Throughout the rest of the day the building was filled with the sound of the many performances that were taking place there.

Jacky, director Art Centre (Dunmow), said she didn't want to put a figure on how much the conversion of the old industrial unit into a major arts centre has cost to date but described it as a major investment.

"We have been very lucky because we have had help from many people who I can not thank enough. Much of the equipment has been funded with money that has been raised by the Dunmow Youth Action Committee who has so far donated £8500 to the deposit," she said.

Jacky explained that, although the centre is open for business, further work is required. "We are still raising money. We need another £70,000 which includes £20,000 to install a lift so the centre can be fully accessible for people who can't manage the stairs, £10,000 for a sound system, £11,000 for lights and £19,000 for the retractable seating that will go in to the theatre studio."

Mikki was keen to let people know that the art centre is there for everyone to use. "We already have karate club, salsa and ballroom dance classes and pilates sessions booked in but this is a facility for anything creative, not just dance. We are keen to encourage everyone from music groups right through to artists who do things such as painting or calligraphy."

People or groups wanting to make use of the Arts Centre should contact Mikki or Jacky on 01371 878020.

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