Arts programme looks to put Hastings on the map

Hofesh Shechter Dance Company
Hofesh Shechter Dance Company

NEW arts programme Stade Saturdays aims to engage with local artists and performers, and young people in particular, as well as drawing in the crowds from further afield.

The £311,000 programme, made possible by £150,000 of funding by Arts Council England, will see performances take place every Saturday evening throughout spring and summer 2012 and 2013, in The Stade Open Space.

Stade Saturdays will be delivered by the Stade Open Space Management Team, and stage managed by non-profit multi-arts group Parrabbola.

Councillors enthusiastically welcomed the programme at a meeting of the Cabinet on Monday (February 6).

Councillor Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration, said: “This is a central part of our strategy to use arts and culture to regenerate the town, bringing more visitors to Hastings, and creating jobs for local people in the creative sector, as well as opportunities for local artists to increase and broaden their skills.”

Each season will feature three high-profile acts, which organisers are confident will draw in the visitors to Hastings.

This year’s highlights include the launch event on March 17, a performance from nationally recognised vocal group Fisherman’s Friends, performances by the Hofesh Shechter Dance Company, which will be used to kick start a youth dance training programme targeting boys in particular, and street arts spectacular ‘Pi-Leau’, by Dutch performance company Close Act produced in association with GDF and MSL Projects.

Up to 10 performances will feature established acts with support from local music students, as part of HALF (Hastings Arts Learning Fulcrum), a partnership between Hastings Borough Council, East Sussex Music Service, and Rhythmix.

The aim is to allow young musicians to gain valuable experience by working alongside professionals.

Also on the Stade Saturdays programme will be performances staged by local programmers such as Art Dev, which will present world music, and APMC, which will present light classical performances.

Another key event will be the visit of the Lone Twin ‘Boat’, a yacht made from 1,200 pieces of donated wood, including a piece of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, which is the Cultural Olympiad’s lead art project for the south east.

While the vessel is moored in Hastings, from July 7 to 9, celebrations will include a two-day serenade of the boat by local community choirs.

Councillor Trevor Webb said: “I hope we can all be involved in publicising this, because it is one of the best stories we have had for years.”

A booklet containing full details is to be produced.