The first ever Cultural Strategy for Lowestoft was launched at a ‘Celebrating Culture on the Edge’ event at the Seagull Theatre on Thursday 10 October, with speakers from Arts Council England and Historic England and the Chief Executive of East Suffolk Council.
Celebrating Culture on the Edge is about Lowestoft being creatively edgy, innovative and reaching new audiences. Celebrating Culture on the Edge, A New Dawn is part of the Great Places, Making Waves Together scheme, which is seeing communities and groups in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth work together to build cultural partnerships, engage new audiences and put arts, heritage and cultures at the heart of the local vision.
Culture is very much at the leading edge of economic growth and supports health and wellbeing agenda and this strategy wants to use culture to make communities healthier and more connected, build aspiration in young people and put cultural organisations and creatives at the heart of Lowestoft’s growth.
The event showcased the amazing work of the sector, including Lowestoft Rising Cultural Education Partnership working with schools and cultural groups to ensure that 10,000 children and young people have access to cultural activities. The Chief Executive from the Marina Theatre provided an insight into the theatre plans over the next five years, in reaching new audiences and diversifying their programming.
This conference, which was attended by over 100 people, was the perfect opportunity to talk about the successes in the cultural sector to date including securing North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone, which is kickstarting regeneration in the historic High Street, through celebrating and conserving the unique character and heritage of the area.
Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council said:
“East Suffolk Council is absolutely delighted to have played an important role in helping to shape the first ever Cultural Strategy for Lowestoft, alongside our colleagues from the creative and cultural community. Culture is hugely important and has far reaching benefits, driving economic growth, boosting the visitor economy and helping deliver health and wellbeing benefits.
With this in mind, we are committed to working with partners to unlock further investment and deliver more cultural opportunities for people living and visiting the town. This will help Lowestoft become a more vibrant and energised place in which to live, work and invest.”
The cultural strategy was all made possible through the work of the Lowestoft Cultural Leadership Group, which is made up of local, regional and national representatives from the cultural sector, like Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Art Link and local town organisations, like Lowestoft Town Council, East Suffolk Council and Lowestoft Vision.
Emma Butler Smith, Chief Executive at the Marina Theatre said:
“The enthusiasm for regeneration and a feeling of commitment to making Lowestoft a better place to live is really growing. Culture is at the heart of the regeneration of any town and the Marina Theatre is proud to be a part of that. Every movement must start somewhere, and the Cultural Strategy is a great launchpad for what’s to come. Lowestoft is an amazing place and we’re not content to be ignored any more – edges and corners are where buried treasure lies!”
Cllr Alice Taylor Mayor of Lowestoft said:
“Last year’s brilliant First Light Festival successfully put the best of Lowestoft front and centre for all to see. Now we have news that it’s coming back, bigger and better! Lowestoft Town Council will continue its work as an active partner to deliver cultural opportunities to the town, especially sustainable and environmentally-friendly events and uses for the Town Hall, parks, and all of the many Lowestoft Town Council assets. We look forward to working with partners and citizens to promote cultural regeneration and creative opportunities for the town and our communities.”
The Lowestoft Cultural Strategy is now available at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/assets/Business/Regeneration-projects/Lowestoft-Cultural-Strategy.pdf