Stratford Circus says farewell to Arts Centre

After nine years and having welcomed thousands of people from all walks of life through the doors, Stratford Circus Arts Centre is set to leave the building that has been its home since 2011 later this month.  The move follows a decision by the London Borough of Newham in February 2020 to change the usage of the building.

Stratford Arts Trust, the company that runs Stratford Circus Arts Centre is sad to be leaving the building but is able to announce that it will continue to serve its community, building on the strong links the Centre and its team have developed locally and in the wider cultural sector over many years. In the short term, there will be a digital programme including the popular E15 Jazz Sessions, and continued provision for the talented NewYVC Choir to work with young people across East London. Creative Schools and Colleges, an initiative which advocates creativity in education, which the company heads across several East London boroughs, will also continue.

After a period of reflection and transition, Stratford Circus plans to offer more participatory and community activities as well as working with artists to create new work. A full programme of activities will be announced in due course. Arts Council England has agreed to support the organisation with funding during this transition period which will enable Stratford Circus to continue to develop quality arts provision in a vibrant and richly diverse community.

Last year, Stratford Circus received 135,000 visitors including 9,476 children and young people. The organisation supported 72 artists and companies with over 50% of those artists from under-represented communities. Since 2011, Stratford Circus has worked to offer creative experiences to the people of Newham, from early years to older adults, young people and groups less likely to have access to the arts through joyful, life-affirming activities.

Lucy Atkinson, Stratford Arts Trust, Interim CEO said  “Leaving our home of 9 years is bittersweet, we have enjoyed creating many wonderful memories at Stratford Circus Arts Centre and were devastated to have to lose staff through this process. 2020 has been an immensely difficult year for our sector, with many more challenges ahead. I want to thank our staff team for their understanding and incredible professionalism during this time. I also want to say thank you for all the amazing messages of support we received back in March when we were forced to close, it meant a lot to the team. I am so pleased we have found a way of being able to continue our work in the future and we will explore what this will look like over the coming few months with our audiences, customers, companies, promoters and artists. Updates will be posted on our website and across our social media channels when we have more detail to announce.”

Georgina Phillippou, Stratford Arts Trust, Chair said  “The Board is very proud of everything the Stratford Circus Arts Centre has achieved for our vibrant local community and beyond over the years, and we are excited about exploring different ways of continuing to do this. The arts are now more than ever essential to our daily lives and to our wellbeing and we look forward to developing new and innovative ways of delivering a broad and accessible programme and working with our talented teams and artists. ”