New Chair of Arts Council England visits Stoke-on-Trent to celebrate Appetite’s successAs part of his visit, Sir Nicholas, who joined the Arts Council earlier this year after serving 28 years as the Director of Tate, enjoyed a visit to Spode in Stoke to meet Appetite community partner, Burslem Jubilee, to share how the programme supported them to present work at the British Ceramics Biennial. This was followed by a visit to the New Vic Theatre over a hearty brunch to meet over 30 key people and partners who have benefitted from the programme, demonstrating the impact that Appetite has made in Stoke-on-Trent over the last 4 years.
The tour also included a visit to speak to audience members at Central Forest Park, where some of Appetite’s biggest and best shows have taken place over the last few years, before a whistle-stop tour of the city centre with City Centre Partnership Chair, Jonathan Bellamy, to talk about the importance of culture, and Appetite’s outdoor art festival The Big Feast, which returns to the city centre this August.
Funded through a large national Arts Council England Creative People and Places programme, Appetite is one of 21 programmes across the whole country, with other programmes taking place in areas such as Sunderland, Blackpool, Hull and St Helens. Appetite was selected as the national programme to visit by Sir Nicholas and is one of his first visits as the new Chair of the Arts Council; a major coup for the city in the lead up to bidding for UK City of Culture 2021.
Appetite has been breaking down barriers for audiences to attend and enjoy culture in Stoke-on-Trent since the programme began in April 2013. Over 393,000 people have taken part in the huge array of Appetite events and activities over recent years such as The Big Feast Festival, The Fire Garden in Hanley Park and the recent outdoor spectacle, The Enchanted Chandelier, helping to change the ways people think about and access culture in the city by providing world-class events in The Potteries.
Karl Greenwood, Appetite Project Director said, “Appetite is very proud to have had the chance to host Sir Nicholas, one of the most influential people in arts and culture, and show-off Stoke-on-Trent and the people who make the city and Appetite tick. We’ve toured some local sites but most importantly met the people who have made the programme such a success. We chatted with members of our Supper Club over oatcakes to share stories of how they get involved in the planning and decision-making of Appetite events, spoke with local artists supported by Appetite to develop work in the city, met some of our fabulous audience members and volunteers as well as our consortium and other key partners.”
Theresa Heskins, Artistic Director of New Vic Theatre said ‘It’s fantastic for Appetite and the city that Arts Council England recognise the value and the impact of our work by choosing to visit us. It’s a real privilege to welcome Sir Nicholas to Stoke-on-Trent so we can show how the Appetite programme has made a difference in the city. It was very important for Sir Nicholas to meet some of the people who have been instrumental in making the programme a success and seeing how we all are working together to make it happen”
Sir Nicholas Serota said ‘It was a privilege to have the chance to see first-hand the impact that Appetite has had on the city and people of Stoke-on-Trent, as part of the Creative People and Places programme. It’s clear that Appetite, led by the New Vic Theatre, is doing much to redefine what the arts mean to people within the area and working to build a thriving cultural landscape within the city.’
Appetite is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England through the National Lottery. Creative People and Places is about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in art experiences in the places where they live. There are 21 independent projects, each located in an area where people have traditionally had fewer opportunities to get involved with the arts. Creative People and Places projects have reached over 1.2 million people, 90% of who do not regularly engage in the arts.
The Appetite programme is supported by funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and is led by the New Vic Theatre in partnership with Partners in Creative Learning, 6Towns Radio and Staffordshire University. Appetite is also supported by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Appetite is proud to be backing Stoke-on-Trent’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021.