Published: Wednesday, 27th July 2022

Warwick District Council’s Arts Section celebrated the area’s creative community at the first Ignite event at the Royal Pump Rooms.

The room was buzzing with over 130 artists, producers and commissioners connecting, engaging, and networking over delicious street food canapés by Baginton Event Catering and mellow summer tunes from musician Levi Washington. The assembly room was transformed with hot summer decorations and flowers by Clare Burgess, Director of Frou Frou Days, setting the scene for an evening of celebration and collaboration.

Warwick District Council’s Arts Manager, David Guilding, ignited the event with a showcase of the Council’s four new Creative Partners who they will work with for the next three years to represent the creative sector in the area and raise its profile:

  • Motionhouse
  • Playbox Theatre
  • Armonico Consort
  • Warwick Words Festival

Louise Richards from Motionhouse, who are based at the Town Hall in Leamington Spa, shared details about their globetrotting dance-circus work including ‘Wondrous Stories’ which opened the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

Louise said, “Ignite was a fantastic event and it was fabulous to play our part. Our thanks go to the WDC Arts team for giving us this opportunity.

“The event was truly sector-focussed, and the mood of the evening felt hugely supportive and just plain celebratory! The support that the Council give to arts and culture in the district is what has made the difference here and has truly ignited the local sector.”

Directors Mary King and Stewart McGill from Playbox Theatre in Warwick produce world class theatre for young people, which was demonstrated by a short film presented by actor Sir Ben Kingsley about the company.

“Playbox Theatre feel honoured to be a Creative Partner of Warwick District Council. The position we hold enables us to forge ahead with confidence that our work is supported and validated. We have many plans and projects ahead and the backing of the District Council is superb.” 

Ignite co-host Carole Sleight, Arts Officer at Warwick District Council, announced that Leamington History Group had been awarded art project funding to make the short film ‘The History of Multi-Cultural Leamington’ (working title), a documentary film about Leamington’s history and the communities who have chosen the town as their home.

Wren Hall was awarded funding to make a multi-generational cookbook called ‘The Bakers of Wroxhall’ which will capture the memories, stories, and secret family recipes in a very special book.

Jenny Davies, Director of Arts Uplift who specialise in arts, health and heritage projects were the first recipients of the new Ignite grant funding which aims to support the growth and resilience of an organisation.

The arts team were also delighted to announce that they had been appointed as the new administrators of the France Brodeur Young Artist Award for young emerging artists aged 16-35.

The evening ended with the launch of CultureFest, Warwick District’s cultural and heritage programme of events that celebrate the arts and heritage venues, artists, and creatives in the area during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Councillor Liam Bartlett, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture at Warwick District Council added, “No one in the room was left in any doubt of how fortunate we are to have so many creative artists and organisations working so hard to make this a great and inspirational district to work and live in.

“Conversations were happening, and connections were being made. The excitement from the evening just proves that our creative sector has a thrilling few years ahead as we build on and celebrate our successes.”

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