CEO Weekly Blog – w/c 10 Jun


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Catalyst Community Arts & Culture Award 2019


It’s been a special week in Stockton as we celebrated the achievements of the borough’s 800+ voluntary and community organisations at the annual Catalyst awards. Catalyst is the support organisation for Stockton’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. Its awards recognise the sector’s enormous contribution to improving people’s lives.

We are proud to be part of this sector, as a charity committed to using arts and culture to achieve positive change in our community. We were even prouder to win the Community Arts & Culture Award! The shortlist included DZ Circus School and Going for Independence CIC, both doing incredible work- so we didn’t expect to win. It’s a wonderful acknowledgement of our impact and we hope everyone involved with ARC will share in our success.

Last year, our resident theatre company, Full Circle, were the award winners – a wonderful achievement in their 10th anniversary year. Since then, this learning disabled group, supported by Little Cog, has become an independent theatre company. Invited back to perform at this year’s awards, their excerpt of The Middle of Our Street, a show performed at ARC earlier in the year, received a standing ovation.

Meanwhile, back at ARC, our Artistic Associate Umar Butt was performing in How to Make a Killing in Bollywood, part of our annual comedy and music festival, Stockton Stages. Run in association with Stockton Borough Council, KU, TMA and local musician Mike McGrother, the festival is a great way to celebrate all the fabulous music and comedy that takes place across the town throughout the year. It includes free music, family comedy and craft sessions, and musical storytelling in the High Street marquee, town walks highlighting Stockton’s musical heritage and 10 satellite music stages around the town centre. It’s a great example of the culture-led regeneration which has been spearheaded by the Council, and especially outgoing Chief Executive, Neil Schneider. I hope the delegates who attended the national Future of Our High Streets conference hosted in Stockton on Friday left with plenty of ideas.