The Plough Art centre is recognised as one of the major art providers in Torridge with an annual footfall in the region of 70,000 plus. It attracts many people from outside the area, including Bude. What a major asset Torrington has.
A typical year in the centre will see over 300 hundred film screenings, a few hundred live events, around 25 free exhibitions not to mention 100s of workshops, which cater for a broad cross-section of the public. In addition, the centre also has an extensive outreach programme that puts on events at 12 other venues across North Devon. The Plough employs 15 staff directly but also provides income for hundreds of local performers, artists, workshop leaders, and other businesses.
Unfortunately, much of the equipment including theatre lighting, control desks and PA systems are no longer state of the art, often needing ongoing repairs and maintenance just to keep things going. The centre’s huge range of activity and their determination to maintain a professional reputation led to a decision to seek funding to replace all of this with updated technology, that will hopefully improve the experience for participants and audiences alike in the years to come.
The centre had already obtained funds from various trusts, The Arts Council and other fundraising events but Torridge was able to donate around £2K which has been put towards purchasing a new lighting control desk for the theatre. The money comes from the Council’s Community Grants fund which since its inception has seen around £815K reinvested back into communities across the district.
Peter Stiles from the Plough Arts Centre said:
“The current lighting desk we have is so old that it still uses a floppy disc to function! The new equipment will be much more efficient, with cues being loaded with a memory stick, a huge time saving on the current manual process. It will also be portable enabling it to be used across many venues in North Devon. All of this will help us expand our offer and attract better acts, and improve the quality and variety of our programmes.”
Councillor Margaret Brown – Ward Member for Torrington said:
“The sheer breadth of the performances and other work undertaken by the Plough Arts Centre is so impressive. This is a local organisation that delivers so much for our communities but has a reputation which reaches out nationally. I am glad that we were able to support their transition into the digital age and look forward to attending some of their future events.”