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Barnstaple Town Council and The Plough Arts Centre have joined forces to breathe new life into St Anne’s Arts & Community Centre in Paternoster Row, Barnstaple. 
St Anne’s, originally a grade 1 listed medieval chapel, is one of Barnstaple’s most significant heritage buildings and was restored and refurbished in 2012 by the Town Council as an arts and community facility. A three-year deal with The Plough will bring a host of cultural, educational and community events to the Centre, which will become known as ‘The Plough @ St Anne’s’, building on the longstanding reputation of the region’s leading arts organisation. 
The keys to St Anne's being handed over from Will Austin, Town Clerk to Richard Wolfenden-Brown, Director of The Plough Arts Centre 
Town Mayor Cllr Mrs Julie Hunt welcomed the partnership. “We are very keen to develop Barnstaple’s cultural offer, and we welcome the involvement of The Plough Arts. We believe St Anne’s has the potential to become an exemplar as a small arts and cultural venue, and we know that The Plough have the skills as well as the local experience and reputation to make this happen. Our vision is to support the arts in Barnstaple in a way that also exposes one of our most important heritage assets to as wide an audience as possible.” 
Richard Wolfenden-Brown, Director of The Plough Arts Centre Ltd said “From our base at The Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington we currently initiate arts events and activities at a dozen venues across Northern Devon, so we are absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside Barnstaple Town Council to reinvigorate St Anne’s as a vibrant arts and community venue. Before we plan a diverse programme of events and activities, we want to listen to the needs of the community. Any individual or group is welcome to come along to an Open event on Tuesday, 25th April 2017 from 6.00pm – 8.00pm at St Anne’s to tell us what you would like to see happening in this beautiful and historic venue. We have ears for ideas! Or e-mail them to [email protected] or call 01805 622552” 
The new deal comes just weeks after the demise of North Devon Theatres, who had been tenants at St Anne’s for the previous eight months. Town Clerk Will Austin said “We learned a lot about working with other organisations from our experience with the theatres, most importantly about choosing the right type of partner with the resilience to deliver. The Plough Arts Centre are firmly established as the major arts organisation for Northern Devon, and we have already developed a relationship with them as a provider of arts events and activities in Barnstaple. This should give everyone confidence, not only that the deal is a robust one, but also that we have found the right people to enhance Barnstaple’s arts offer. We are absolutely delighted to be working with them.” 
Under a three-year agreement, the Plough will receive grant support from the Town Council to enable them to provide a year-round programme of events and activities. 
Deputy Town Clerk Kate Graddock said “This is a good deal for the local community, as The Plough Arts Centre can provide quality, expertise and resources that we couldn’t, as we’re not primarily an arts organisation. In addition, the cost to the taxpayer will be significantly less than it would if the Council had to employ staff to run the facility.” 
The agreement is expected to run from mid-April 2017. 
Tagged as: St Anne's
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