Without Peter Wilson, we wouldn’t be here

Michael Launchbury and Adam Taylor at The Garage Trust's AGM where tributes were paid to Peter Wilson

Tributes were paid to theatre producer Peter Wilson MBE DL at The Garage Trust’s recent Annual General Meeting.

As CEO of Norwich Theatre Royal, Mr Wilson (pictured below), who died last week, was one of the founding partners of the Trust and more recently served as one of its patrons. 

Adam Taylor, the Trust’s CEO, told Trustees and staff at the AGM: “Peter spent his career making the cultural ecology of this region what it is. Without him, we would not be here. Without him, I wouldn’t be here. Peter’s work, his leadership, changed my life at 16 and one of my hopes for the future was that if I could be even half the leader he was, I would be very proud.

“He leaves a huge void and will be greatly missed. As Peter said, ‘whether or not you go on to have a career in the performing arts, participation at The Garage and working with your peers will teach you the value of teamwork, give you personal fulfilment, and teach you that everyone has potential. I’m immensely proud of the work done at The Garage over the years – may it go from strength to strength’.”

Despite some real challenges, the Trust has done that.

The charity has felt the pinch of huge inflationary pressures with heating, lighting, insurances, and overheads resulting in a £176k increase in costs. Diligent management and growth in income saw the Trust break even in the year 2022/23 with growth predicted to continue.

Work on its new five-year business plan is ongoing. Capital development work is about to begin at The Garage in Norwich and sister venue The Workshop in King’s Lynn with a refresh of the studios and front-of-house spaces, including the café at The Garage.

The Trust’s Youth Board has relaunched, putting young people’s voices centre stage when it comes to changing people’s live through the arts. The Trust is about to reveal the first stage of its groundbreaking Creative Co-Designing with Our Communities report (which can be downloaded here).

Peter Wilson

Its community producers have collaborated with people and groups on dozens of projects across Norfolk, listening to what they need from the Trust and then helping them to deliver it. This work has included:

• Creative workshops, fundraising, and the creating of a community garden

• Creative activities and wellbeing events with residents of the Jenny Lind community in Norwich

• Taverham Community Ambassador Programme members winning the national Campaigning Award at Clarion Futures‘ Annual Power Youth Event following their Flowin’ and Glowin’ Festival in aid of Bloody Good Period

• Zine-making for those in King’s Lynn who have experienced homelessness and who feel invisible

• Establishing the Sound and Vision community choir in King’s Lynn with co-designers who are blind or visually impaired so participants could sing together and reduce social isolation

Mr Taylor concluded: “We shouldn’t shy away from our challenges. They are only unsuccessful if we don’t embrace them and learn from them.”

Michael Launchbury (pictured top with CEO Adam Taylor) was officially announced as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees, replacing Alison Guy, who has stepped down from the role after three years.

Mr Launchbury’s former roles include Chief Executive of The Globe Theatre, Southwark; former Director of Public Services and Estates for the Museum of London; and he’s currently Vice Chair of the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust.

He said: “The relationship between the Board of Trustees and the team at The Garage and The Workshop is a very important partnership and one I look forward to continuing nurturing as Chair. 

“We’re looking for more Trustees to encourage and support the team in their valuable work changing people’s lives through art across Norfolk. It’s a rewarding role that gives as much, if not more, than it asks of you.”

Anyone interested in becoming a Trustee can find out more here. There’s also an open evening from 5.30pm-6.30pm on 13 October where you can meet other Trustees and the CEO to find out more. The deadline for applications is 15 October.

Our autumn term of dance, drama, music, and fitness classes started today. There’s still time to sign-up. Our friendly front of house team are happy to answer any questions. Give them a call on 01603 283382 or email info@thegarage.org.uk.

We’ve free GCSE Dance and GCSE Drama taster masterclasses this Saturday too. Find out more here.

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