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Former Barking community centre’s £1.2m makeover includes glitter ball, flagpole and theatre made of straw

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 September 2020

A long view of the centre's redesign. Picture: Studio 3 Arts

A long view of the centre's redesign. Picture: Studio 3 Arts

Archant

Designs to turn a community centre built in the 1970s into a hub for culture include a glitter ball and theatre made of straw.

A design giving an idea how the centre could look. Picture: Studio 3 ArtsA design giving an idea how the centre could look. Picture: Studio 3 Arts

The £1.2million revamp of the former Galleon Community Centre in Boundary Road, Barking, into a dedicated performance centre and theatre for Studio 3 Arts is set to start in January 2021.

Liza Vallance, artistic director and CEO of Studio 3 Arts, said: “Everyone should have access to world-class culture.

“The plans for our new venue keep the people of Barking and Dagenham at their heart, whether that’s participating in our programme or helping us build a new theatre from straw bales.”

The project by Citizen Design Bureau transforms the existing 1970s building with a straw bale extension and metallic zig-zag canopy, along with a giant mirror ball and flagpole.

An image showing what the inside might look like. Picture: Studio 3 ArtsAn image showing what the inside might look like. Picture: Studio 3 Arts

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It is expected to provide much-needed space for the 35-year-old organisation, including a new recording suite, staff offices, dressing rooms and gallery, besides reworking the existing studio theatre.

The community studio will connect to the back, where outdoor performance spaces, a gallery and community garden would be found.

The new centre’s backers include the Mayor of London, Arts Council England, Clothworkers’ Foundation, Foyle Foundation and the Theatres Trust.

A plan view of the centre. Picture: Studio 3 ArtsA plan view of the centre. Picture: Studio 3 Arts

Jules Pipe, London’s deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, said: “The refurbishment and extension of Studio 3 Arts paves the way for a new first-class cultural centre in Barking.”

Joyce Wilson from Arts Council England said: “I hope this new development gives [Studio 3 Arts] a home that matches their creative ambitions for Barking and everyone that lives there.”

Studio 3 Arts’ next season, entitled Places Like This, will start the process of welcoming users back to its buildings safely and encourage the community to get involved in the works, including the building of the straw bale extension. Gender neutral facilities, spruced up office spaces and changing facilities are also among the plans.

The new studio means the organisation can also hire out space for community events at cheaper rates.


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