Woolwich Works Creative District opening on 23rd September 2021

Woolwich’s new creative district named Woolwich Works has seen its spring opening delayed until this autumn with a newly confirmed opening date of September 23rd.

The project had been scheduled to complete in spring though that increasingly looked unlikely with the pandemic. A Woolwich Works update was not given at a council regeneration meeting earlier this year and the opening spring 2021 disappeared from the website in recent weeks.

Studio space

The centre is occupying a number of buildings in Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal site including:

  • An 1800-capacity venue (standing)
  • A courtyard with seating for up to 600 people
  • five rehearsal studios
  • artists’ studios and offices
  • A cafe/bar

 

The former Firepower museum and Heritage Centre and borough archives are now occupied by the centre. Earlier this year they were awarded £984,000 from Central Government via the Culture Recovery Fund which assists projects impacted by the pandemic. Greenwich Council are funding the project which was costed in 2020 at £32 million.

The project aims to not only appeal to local people but across London and beyond. Crossrail will bring the facility closer to much of the capital with rapidly reduced transport times. Liverpool Street will be 15 minutes away. Canary Wharf (and thousands of residents moving into new homes) will be less than 10 minutes away.

Transport

Crossrail commenced trial running yesterday and seeing live departures on the excellent realtimetrains has brought how just how better connected Woolwich and Abbey Wood will be to the rest of London. And not just London but beyond. The line links with major stations connecting the capital to other cities. Paddington for Bristol, Cardiff and the west. Liverpool Street for Cambridge, Norwich and many more.

Testing has begun

With upgrades to many intercity lines alongside Crossrail, a huge chunk of time is taken off journeys. Artists, performers and audiences can conceivably reach places like Woolwich far more quickly. Bristol City Centre to Woolwich in two hours may be possible. It was three and half a couple of years ago at times. As someone who used to do routes like that weekly it’s transformative.

I’m sure some with scoff that no one will want to visit Woolwich from other parts of London and beyond. Nonsense. With an attractive line up of events people will visit from far and wide.

 

It’ll be hoped that it won’t repeat the issues with the former Firepower museum in the area, and the line-up and events do have wide appeal.

 

 

 

 

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John Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

4 thoughts on “Woolwich Works Creative District opening on 23rd September 2021

  • May 12, 2021 at 8:41 am
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    It’s down to the programme of the performance space, who’s in charge of decision-making and what their intellectual agenda is.
    If they employ someone knowledgeable and give them free reign & economic support then you might get somewhere.
    Alternatively, there is plenty of empty ‘creative’ spaces in newly built Stratford no-one attends because its soulless.
    I wonder if there is anyone in Greenwich Council that grasps this? Judging by their shoddy record (as is excellently highlighted by this website), my expectations are low.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2021 at 2:51 pm
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    So good to hear this positive news in these times John. I agree this will generate huge interest and Crossrail encourage those from afar as long as the artistic offerings are not all ‘too niche’. Looking forward to seeing it. And the Bristol route in 2 hours, wow! I can cycle to Can. Wharf from EG in ten mins, bike on train with no changes to Temple Meads, unbelievable but will push Bristol house prices even higher. Too late for me as visits to my son will end as his 2nd year junior doctor stint at the BRI (main hospital) finishes there and like many junior docs he goes to Aussie for a year to practice in A&E and enjoy the surf (lucky bugger). When he returns he says that even on a doctors salary Bristol house prices are too high and places for medics hard to get. It’s a popular city for young professionals to live, & i clear why- its green credentials are perhaps unsurpassed here in UK. RBG has a LOT to learn to keep young professionals here, it’ll take more than a decent arts complex. They’ll wake up to it when it’s too late.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2021 at 5:35 pm
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    The buildings and event space look very good though I’m wary the program to be put on has much appeal? Unfair? It all looks pretty niche. What events are to be put on to fill 1,800 capacity room I wonder….

    It presumably needs to pull in the punters to keep going and do popular stuff alongside the worthy bits. Popular theatre and music events alongside jazz (which has its place but isn’t generally a big crowed puller) in a rounded line up.

    Reply
  • May 14, 2021 at 6:19 am
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    This is good news after such tough 15 months of the pandemic it is good to see new venues preparing to open.

    I hope the event programme will have something that will appeal to everyone that will attract locals and people frrom further a field. So that the Woolwich Works Creative District becomes a success.

    With the right Management Team, Arts Director and with staff with a proven record of managing and working in an events venue recruited they is no reason why it cannot become a sucess.

    Reply

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