Image: Lumen 2018 in Crewe
After two years of work involving national experts, councils, businesses and local people, Crewe is on-track to make arts, culture and heritage central to the community with the launch of the new cultural strategy for Crewe.
From spectacular outdoor light installations to vibrant, new theatrical ventures plus digital skills training for young people and dance programmes for people with dementia – Crewe has already demonstrated a commitment to making culture central to the town’s development over the next decade.
The Crewe Cultural Forum, anchored by the Crewe Lyceum Theatre and made up of over 100 people and organisations within the town, unveiled a creative blueprint last year.
The strategy identifies goals to support the regeneration of Crewe through culture and heritage, aiming to create an environment where inspiration, innovation and creativity lead the economic growth of the area.
The strategy outlines six key outcomes:
- Give young people a sense of cultural identity and opportunities to explore it
- Create confidence and distinction for culture in Crewe
- Promote, celebrate and protect Crewe’s unique heritage
- Create a strong, sustainable creative and digital sector
- Recognise culture’s ability to promote positive health and wellbeing
- Make Crewe a vibrant place that has culture and creativity at the heart of its economic success and appeal.
Adam Knight, director of Crewe Lyceum Theatre and chair of the Crewe Cultural Forum, said: “Crewe is at a unique point in its journey and has an unrivalled opportunity to capitalise on our position as the gateway to the North West.
“The exciting new focus on creativity and culture that the Strategy represents is something that the Lyceum Theatre, and our partners on the Cultural Forum, are proud to champion.
“Our town has a wealth of untapped ideas, potential collaborations and inspiring opportunities to explore in order to shape Crewe as a place where creativity in all its forms is celebrated and is allowed to thrive within the heartbeat of the community.”
Interested parties, including the theatre, identified the need for a strategy in 2017 to enable town stakeholders to work together.
They commissioned The Audience Agency to analyse box office and event visitor data, reporting on the cultural engagement habits of people in Crewe and to identify cultural programming opportunities.
A core working group (comprising Crewe Lyceum Theatre, Cheshire East Council, Crewe Town Council, Crewe Heritage Centre, Cheshire College – South and West, South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and YMCA Crewe) convened to identify main themes and generate next steps for public engagement.
In 2018 the core group held a number of workshops and, with award-winning Crewe-based film company Squeaky Pedal, created “My Town Is Crewe” research films.
Opening the doors to new and emerging artists based within the town has broadened the outlook of the collective with exciting and inspiring fresh partners, such as Dope Male Performance Company and Platform Theatre, acting as trailblazers for the younger generation.
This, proponents argue, ensures an intergenerational approach to securing the success of the new cultural strategy and forum.