Dance group wins £2.5m boost
Suffolk's dancers are jumping for joy today after they were awarded £2.5 million towards a new dance complex on the Ipswich waterfront development.Dancehouse, at the former Cranfield's Mill site on the Ipswich Wet Dock, will become the new headquarters for the Suffolk-based national dance agency DanceEast.
Suffolk's dancers are jumping for joy today after they were awarded £2.5 million towards a new dance complex on the Ipswich waterfront development.
Dancehouse, at the former Cranfield's Mill site on the Ipswich Wet Dock, will become the new headquarters for the Suffolk-based national dance agency DanceEast.
DanceEast Dancehouse is the cultural cornerstone of the development and will provide the first custom-built dance facilities in the east of England.
The £5.8million development is being supported by the East Anglian Daily Times as media partner.
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It will include a 240-seat studio theatre with full production facilities, as well as three additional dance studios, a Pilates and therapy room, archive and resource library, learning and access room, green room, a café and offices for DanceEast staff and various dance companies.
The grant came from Arts Council England and has been has awarded as part of the largest urban regeneration project in the east of England.
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Assis Carreiro, Director of DanceEast, said: "We're delighted by this award. It gives us the confidence to really move forward with our plans.
"It is no longer just a vision but a reality and we hope it gives confidence to our other funding partners to come on board and support a building that is very much for and about the communities of Ipswich, the east of England and beyond."
EADT Editor Terry Hunt said: "This is fantastic news for everyone who loves dance and the arts in this part of the world. It is also tremendously important for the continued development of the Ipswich Waterfront. "
Today's news means that work on the project is now virtually ready to go ahead.
Over the next three years Wharfside Regeneration working with the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) will transform Cranfield's Mill into a thriving leisure area.
Ms Carreiro said that DanceEast will play a key role in the regeneration of the waterfront by bringing new cultural activity to this area of the town.
She added that the developers were donating £1.8 million - in kind - to Dancehouse and this is being added to a gift of £100,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, £10,000 from the friends and staff of DanceEast, as well as numerous other donations including £2,000 from The Scarfe Foundation and £1,000 from The Geoffrey Burton Trust.
The Cranfields Mill site was purchased by EEDA as part of a long-term project to regenerate the Ipswich waterfront.
Wharfside Regeneration and John Lyall Architects were awarded development contracts after a national competition to find the developer and architect with the most creative and innovative proposals for redeveloping the mill.
The scheme has the backing of Ipswich Borough Council, which is planing to move the Ipswich Film Theatre down to the waterfront.
It will also have a number of restaurants, café/bars, art galleries and craft centres linked together with a covered walkway.
Ms Carreiro said: "The idea is to attract people here after work to have a meal, enjoy a drink before catching a dance performance, visiting a gallery or watching a film. It's very exciting."