Originally dubbed as the Woolwich Cultural Quarter, the Royal Arsenal arts hub venture has now been launched as the Woolwich Creative District.
According to the BBC, Greenwich Council has given the go-ahead for a 450-seat theatre, a performance courtyard and 10 rehearsal studios at the Woolwich development in south-east London. Other facilities at ‘South Bank Woolwich’ include a riverside cafe and restaurant, workshops, archive and exhibition space as well as a library with Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust occupying one of the buildings. Other confirmed companies moving into the site include Academy Performing Arts, Chickenshed Theatre, Dash Arts, Greenwich Dance, Protein Dance and the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival.
According to the Council, discussions with a number of other leading arts organisations are also ongoing and it is anticipated that the Woolwich Creative District will provide more than 400 local jobs in addition to new roles during construction.
Joyce Wilson, London Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “This is a tremendously exciting time for Woolwich, and I am truly delighted, and impressed, that the Royal Borough of Greenwich is such a strong champion for culture and heritage in the area. It is heartening that arts and culture remain so firmly at the centre of the borough’s work in Woolwich, and I am pleased that the Arts Council has been able to support this through our Cultural Destinations fund, ensuring that the development both celebrates the area and stays true to its community.”
Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Denise Hyland added: “This will cement Woolwich as a destination in its own right; with a direct Crossrail link, it will give even more reason for visitors to flock to the town. The benefits will filter out into the neighbouring areas in particular like Plumstead, Abbey Wood and Thamesmead and I am sure residents will really benefit from having such an attraction right on their doorstep.”
In total the adaptive reuse of four Grade II and one Grade II* listed buildings provides over 16 500m² of flexible space. The first buildings are expected to open in 2018 to coincide with the arrival of Crossrail.