Welcome career boost for arts sector as Cornwall’s towns buzz with busy line-up of free cultural entertainment

Welcome Back Fund cultural events picture

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Towns and high streets across Cornwall will be buzzing between now and the end of March as projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s Welcome Back Fund (WBF), and supported by Cornwall Council and UK Government, reach their peak.

Top of the list is an entertaining programme of over 100 free, Cornish cultural events, giving a welcome career boost to some 250 Cornish artists and graduates.

The busy, varied programme is being rolled out in Bodmin, Camelford, Hayle, Helston, Launceston, Liskeard, Mevagissey, Newquay, St Austell and Wadebridge.

It aims to re-animate high streets and attract people back into town centres. This is important as our society and economy opens up following the relaxation of Covid lockdown rules.

Hall for Cornwall has been commissioned by the council to co-create and design the programme that also gives much-needed support to the creative industries sector, one of the hardest hit by Covid lockdowns and one of the last to reopen.

Drawing heavily on Cornwall’s New Artist Network (NAN), the programme supports new and growing talent and skills development.  Many of NAN’s 100 recent graduates and artists looking to start and sustain careers as artists and event-makers in Cornwall will have the thrill of their first-ever paid performance.

Events are concentrated around weekends and key holiday periods – February half term week, retail promotion days around Valentine’s Day, and St Piran’s Day in March. Check here to see when and where what’s happening.

There’s something for everyone from interactive pop-up community performances showcasing the talent of local schoolchildren, Manga drawing lessons, craft-making and bushcraft workshops to Parkour (free-running) displays, half pipe demos, tea dances, poetry jukebox sessions, heritage walks and colourful street theatre.

Hear the little-known story behind the Cornish-born first world heavyweight boxing champ; help generate a live performance using pedal power, meet tide travellers and 21st century Cornish piskies and sing Trelawney with Cornish Anarchy.

Cllr Stephen Rushworth, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for the economy comments: “This exciting cultural events programme showcases the cream of Cornish culture, giving people a reason to really love and embrace the local flavour of where they live and choose to visit.  It celebrates of the unique culture and traditions of our very unique towns and high streets.

“I’m delighted, too, that in providing a boost to our high street economies, it will give so many of our up-and-coming artists the opportunity to gain invaluable performing experience and grow successful careers in the creative industries in Cornwall.

“I believe residents and out of town visitors alike will find plenty of reasons to visit and linger longer. Welcome back to our town centres – see you there!”

Julien Boast, Chief Executive and Creative Director, Hall for Cornwall, adds: "The team at Hall for Cornwall are thrilled to be contributing towards this project. High streets are at the heart of so many communities and we've developed a really great programme of performances  to help bring people back to their local town centre.

“We're working with the New Artist Network to design the programme, so not only does it help give a boost to town centres but it's giving many Cornish artists and graduates their first paid commission."

And it’s not just the 10 towns and new artists who will benefit from the innovative cultural events programme. There is an important legacy element, too.  

When it finishes, a detailed events toolkit  will be made available to any town or parish in Cornwall. This will give them a valuable skills resource to manage future events, sustain momentum and create the ongoing vitality needed to maintain support for their local businesses and compliment the vitality of towns across Cornwall.

Story posted February 21, 2022


Picture credit Prodigal UPG

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