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New 1200-seat venue and arts hub to open in Woolwich next year

Many organisations will be based at the new venue

"Woolwich Works"
© Agnese Sanvito

A variety of arts organisations will make their home in Woolwich from next spring as part of a major redevelopment initiative.

Following a £31.59 million restoration of historical industrial buildings on the Royal Arsenal, there will be a new large-scale concert venue, as well as rehearsal and studio spaces to house music, theatre, dance, spoken word, comedy, exhibitions and food and drink, all housed within the "Woolwich Works" hub.

Resident artists within the venue will be National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra, Luca Silvestrini's Protein, Punchdrunk and the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair.

Originally meant to open in 2020, the new hub is set to be "London's new cultural quarter for the arts" and will feature:

A 1200 seated or 1800 standing performance venue
An external courtyard for performances
Five studios, which will also be used for performances and rehearsals spaces
A cafe, bar and spaces for community groups as well as to hire for weddings, parties, conferences and events

The project will be working with the local community and schools as well as creating jobs in the area. It will also coincide with the much-awaited completion of the Crossrail train network.

James Heaton, Woolwich Works chief executive, comments: "Some people may wonder whether now's the right time to be launching a new cultural hub, given everything that's going on in the world. Certainly, the context in which we're doing so is very different to that we'd expected – and a huge amount of thought, soul-searching, and analysis has gone into reviewing our plans for Woolwich Works and re-evaluating our role post-Covid-19.

But ultimately, we are founded on the power of the arts and culture to transform lives: to inspire people to imagine, create and innovate; to build confidence, enable communication and drive collaboration; to empower and make change; and to create jobs and act as a catalyst for economic regeneration."