Managing a new era at Florence Art Centre

An exciting future for Florence as Craig Carruthers (above) takes over as the new building and PR manager.

An exciting future for Florence as Craig Carruthers (above) takes over as the new building and PR manager.

FLORENCE Arts Centre is moving into an exciting new era with Craig Carruthers taking over as the new building and PR manager.

Craig brings a wealth of experience to Florence, that includes the National Theatre in London and running his own business: I Knit London.

Craig has relocated to the area in order to take up this position at Florence. He said: “There is so much potential here at the Arts Centre that is just ripe for development, and I know I’m going to enjoy being part of that. It’s not often you get a chance to be at the beginning of something special like this and, while I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, I also know it’s going to be worth it.”

John Rickard, board chairman for Florence Arts Centre, said:“We needed someone who could help us drive this amazing arts centre forwards and achieve our goal of becoming the ‘must visit’ location for both locals and visitors to the area.

“Last year was an excellent year for us, with visitor numbers exceeding our expectations. In order to appeal to a broader audience we experimented with putting on a number of different acts, like the small travelling theatre company ‘Don’t go down the Cellar’, who were so well received we asked them to add us to their UK touring schedule. They will be performing two shows for us this year.”

The centre also launched a ‘Cheeky Comedy Night’ that has proved a huge success and is now a regular feature at Florence, thanks to host and local comedian John Lebbon.

Head of marketing, Vivienne Tregidga, said: “For the first time last year we invited a well-known story teller, Nick Hennessey, to perform at Florence and we were delighted with the positive feedback from the audience who, demanded we book him again this year.”

The Arts Centre is attracting exceptional artists, wanting to exhibit and run workshops.

Jenni Payne of Florence Paintmakers said: “We had over 700 interested and interesting visitors to Florence Arts Centre during C-Art last year and I anticipate this number may be even more this year.
“Thanks to the grants we have received from the Arts Council England and Copeland Community Fund we will be able to continue to develop our artist residencies.”

This year they will be working with Cumbrian-based scientists and artists to develop an ink to be part of Florence Paintmakers growing product range.

They are hoping to develop the community studio so that they can stream live video to the internet.

Florence Arts Centre has been awarded a NUGEN Green Grant to develop a Wildlife Garden by reclaiming some waste ground at the rear of the centre and will be creating that along with partners at Lakes College.

Florence will be asking people to get involved with that project as well as a heritage one based around the mine.

Have a look at the Florence Arts Centre website at www.florencemine.com for more information about visiting bands and theatre, Open Mic nights, Flo Jazz as well as art exhibitions and the Cheeky Comedy Nights.

Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, Cumbria UK is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am to 4pm. Phone in advance to be sure (01946 824946