The Garage is a hub for performing arts located in Norwich which supports the creative journeys of artists, participants and audiences. It is managed by The Garage Trust, a registered charity and limited liability company.
The venue is an important creative hub for the communities of Norfolk and beyond, working with local and national partners to provide high quality theatre programming, participation, education and training for all ages. It is a place for everyone but has a particular focus on young people from all backgrounds.
The year round programme includes open access performing arts classes, projects, live performances and support for the development of new creative work. Local delivery is complimented by national partnerships and delivery of strategic initiatives which develop the sector. Each year its team produce a wide range of Productions both young people and professional for partners, stakeholders and commissioners.
The charity has a strong emphasis on engaging those with least access to the arts, particularly young people. The Outreach team works with funders, local authorities, schools, statutory agencies and referral partners to deliver year-round access, inclusion and development initiatives based both at The Garage and beyond.
In addition to the work delivered by the trust, the facilities are hired by community, education and arts groups in order for them to deliver their own activities.
Our Artistic Policy
The performance programme, supported by Arts Council England and our Local Authority funders, aims to engage teenagers and young adults in theatre, although people of all ages enjoy our presentations. We present work which is ‘small in scale and big in creative ambition’, often described as ‘Fringe style’. It includes dance, spoken word and music and is often by new and emerging artists, writers or companies. Alongside our professional presentations, we showcase local companies, youth and student groups each season, and present family shows in school holidays and at weekends.
The Garage offers unparalleled opportunities for local, regional and national professional artists and companies, due to the quality of our facilities and expertise of staff and partners. We help artists to secure investment, develop and tour new shows and have excellent facilities for rehearsal and performance. Our experienced management team and our partners offer high level support with production, fundraising or marketing and we have a large groundswell of participants, audiences and young artists with which to collaborate or test new work.
We actively co-commission and produce in house, new work engaging with children, young people and families with producing partners across the UK. Artists tell us that our approach to connecting activities provides an appealing opportunity for them to create new work through collaborations with audiences, artists and participants.
Our ambition is that through the creation of high quality creative work, we will be able to reflect and tell the stories of those we work with. For example, we have found that work for and with young people is often biased towards more urban experiences whereas our participants, and many more like them, grow up and live in predominantly rural environments. We want to give voice to their untold stories, perspectives and viewpoints and share that work, both here and across our touring partnerships.
“The Garage is a leading venue programming work for, by and with chidren and young people…proof that if a venue has a thorough programming strategy then audiences can be attracted, developed and sustained. Your initiatives, for example tweetseats, have been an inspiration to your peers" Mark Makin, Programme Manager, House
Board of Trustees
The Garage Trust Ltd is guided by an experienced and dedicated board of trustees consisting of professionals from the business sector, local authorities and community based organisations. Each trustee provides valuable skills, experience and insights that support the management team and guide the strategic development of our work. Our current trustees are:
Maggie Wheeler (Chair of the Board of Trustees)
Maggie came to Norwich in 1972 to go to UEA ...and stayed! After graduating with a degree in English and American literature she trained as a social worker and has spent most of her working life in health and social care.
She chaired Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (mental health services) for 10 years until April 2013. She has also been a trustee and chair of Age UK Norwich. She does freelance work as a facilitator, and had worked with many organisations on governance and board development.
Maggie joined the trustees of The Garage in Autumn 2012 and feels privileged to be asked to be the Chair. She is passionate about Norwich, and keen that The Garage play its full part in the cultural scene of the city - especially in showing what young people can contribute.
In 2009, at the age of 21, Tom was elected to Norfolk County Council representing Great Yarmouth North and Central. As well as being a Trustee of The Garage, he is also a Trustee of SeaChange Arts. Tom enjoys reading, socialising with friends and is a volunteer crewmember of Caister Lifeboat.
Sarah joined the Board in 2014. She is currently Director of Marketing at Norwich University of the Arts, overseeing all the University’s marketing, communications, student recruitment, events, development and work with schools. With a background in TV Production she first came to Norwich in 1992 to work on Unnatural Causes, one of the PD James dramas made by Anglia TV, and continued to work between London and Norfolk until joining NUA in 2009.
Joanna is 22 years old and has worked at Lovewell Blake LLP for 3 years. She works in the Corporate Services department preparing accounts for limited companies, assisting with audits, completing all pension scheme audits for the department and preparing management accounts for smaller limited companies. She is very hard working, strives to do her best at all times, keen to try new things and always has a very positive attitude.
Performing arts has always been a big part of Joanna's life which is one of the reasons why she was so interested in becoming a Trustee of The Garage Trust. At the age of 3 she started dance classes and performed in shows at the Theatre Royal and also at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. More recently, she has been part of a production group where she has performed and also choreographed shows, performing at The Playhouse and also in Dereham and in Bungay.
Joanna feels that the responsibility of being a Trustee will benefit her greatly and is willing to put in the time needed to both support the Trust and gain valuable skills.
Catrin is a graduate of the University of Birmingham, The University of Wolverhampton and Oxford Brookes. Catrin has worked in Education for 18 years. After training and teaching in Shropshire and the Midlands, she has worked as a head teacher in Norfolk for the last eight. She is currently headteacher of West Earlham Junior School, one of the communities served by the Garage Delivery Programme. Catrin has a background in creative education leading one of the Creative Partnerships’ National Schools of Creativity and running national workshops on the Mantle of the Expert System, Learning through Drama and the Leadership of Creative Learning.
Rob Tiffen is an Associate of Ashton KCJ in Norwich. He has been on the board since 2007. He has also served as trustee and vice-chairman of the board of the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich from 2005 to 2009. Prior to training as a lawyer, Rob trained and worked as a professional actor.
Mari studied drama and dance at Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire before an early career as a performer, workshop leader and community theatre director at Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Gazebo Theatre in Education Company West Midlands and West Midlands Art Link.
Prior to coming to Norfolk in 1995, Mari worked as a Community Arts Officer in Walsall in the West Midlands. As Head of the Arts and Events Service at Norfolk County Council, Mari liaised closely with senior Elected Members and Chief Officers, advocating the vital role that culture plays in the social and economic life of the county. Mari was responsible for the establishment of the Norfolk Cultural Board and more recently the new Anglia Cultural Board which is made up of cultural leaders from Norfolk and Suffolk, and representatives of the Arts Council, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, and other bodies, including the National Trust and Tourism agencies.
As well as having responsibility for the Council’s arts services, Mari’s team was responsible for the delivery of major events. The team lead an extensive four year Olympic and Paralympic programme, was responsible for the delivery of the Torch Relay across the county, and delivery of the Tour of Britain Cycle Race.
Daniel Pitt has held the post of Arts Producer at Cambridge Junction (www.junction.co.uk) arts centre since September 2012. He curates and manages the Theatre and Dance programme including annual festival, Family programme and Artistic Development activities for emerging and established performance makers.
Prior to moving to Cambridge, he was Artists’ Producer for the UK contingent on a surprise event called Piccadilly Circus Circus, conceived and created by visual and circus theatre producing organisation Crying Out Loud (www.cryingoutloud.org), as part of the London 2012 Festival.
Daniel joined Crying Out Loud in 2010 as Assistant Producer, recipient of a DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursar. Notable projects with COL include project managing Aurelia Thierree’s Murmurs at the Southbank Centre over Christmas 2011.
Daniel holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Drama from the University of Birmingham. He sometimes still makes performance projects of his own and is currently directing a disabled-led spoken word show.