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9th February 2011, 12:31pm
"Keep tomorrow's theatre-makers in the county," says new LPAC director
Craig Morrow outside LPAC The new Artistic Director at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) has vowed to fight for the city's creative talent to stay in the area.

Craig Morrow, who joins the LPAC from The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre in Taunton, says that in future, professional work by up-and-coming local theatre makers will be staged at the venue alongside national touring productions.

He said: "I want to get to a place where LPAC is both a producing and a presenting venue. Lincolnshire currently has the lowest level of regular Arts Council funding in the region and a lot of this is to do with the fact that so little new work is made in the county. That's why we need to nurture local talent, supporting artist development and creating progression routes so that people do not feel like they always have to go to London.

"We are aligning much more closely with the School of Performing Arts in terms of research and in developing new works in the county."

The director also emphasised his commitment to engaging local communities - and in particular children - through the arts, and revealed that family shows will continue to be a core part of LPAC's autumn programme later this year.

"The opportunity to engage with new audiences at such an early age and to really fire imaginations with exciting shows like 'Little Red Hen' in April is invaluable for ensuring participation in the arts.  These sorts of shows will also tie in with the academic programme, because from September the drama degree course will include a module on creating children's theatre," he added, "so in everything we do we'll be looking to support the theatre makers of tomorrow".

Craig will draw on his extensive experience to reinvigorate the LPAC's programme, including his time as Artistic Associate at The Brewhouse, where he was instrumental in turning round the theatre's fortunes to national acclaim.

He says there are real parallels between the economy and geography of Lincolnshire and Somerset. However, he is keen to point out that audiences are unpredictable.

"Because of the space the arts inhabit, in which we are dealing with people’s sensibilities and feelings, there are no hard and fast rules," he said.

"We made some difficult changes at The Brewhouse, beginning with a year-long research project that experimented with the programming, trying out different things with our audiences. In the end, we were able to offer something for everyone.

"We hope to do something similar at LPAC over the course of the next year, looking at how we can complement what's offered at the Drill Hall and the Theatre Royal. I want the LPAC to be open to all students and the local community."

Craig's plans for the LPAC also include regular free events in the café bar, such as comedy nights and sessions for under-fives, to complement the theatre's formal programme of music, dance and drama. The first of these free events - "Commuter Jazz" - on Friday evenings from 5-7pm is already proving popular.

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