Merton Arts Space has celebrated a successful first year attracting praise from audiences and performers impressed by its unique setting in Wimbledon Library.
The space was developed after the library service, successfully won Arts Council funding for the project in 2016 and has since collaborated with more than 60 local arts and community organisations to provide an eclectic programme of activities and events over the past year.
The space, which can accommodate up to 300 people, is used as a reference library during opening hours and can be quickly converted to accommodate a stage, lighting and sound rigs and 250 seats.
Stand-out events included a talk by author Jessie Burton, a two week theatre run of Great Expectations, a Club Soda cabaret evening and a sell-out gig by Jah Wobble and the Invaders of the Heart.
Merton Council’s cabinet member for Community and Culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “Merton Arts Space is a great addition to our thriving arts community and a testament to our business-like approach as a council. It’s a genuine affordable community resource, meeting our aspiration to bridging the gap in Merton and make arts accessible to everyone. The past year’s programme has offered everything from art exhibitions and film screenings to classical music, poetry performances and tea dances and has become an excellent family attraction, enhancing our offer as a borough, which is great place for families.”
He added: “The local response to the arts space has been fantastic and library staff have put a lot of effort into making this a success. We’re really proud of what’s been achieved in our first year and look forward to what the next year will bring.”