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New man takes the helm of thriving Norwich arts venue

PUBLISHED: 11:01 19 August 2015 | UPDATED: 11:01 19 August 2015

The Garage's new executive director Adam Taylor.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

The Garage's new executive director Adam Taylor. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

Norwich performance venue The Garage has come a long way since 
it first opened 11 years ago, and 
the new man at the helm has spoken of his excitement at leading the centre on the next stage of its journey.

Two more familiar faces have become deputy directors

Joining Mr Taylor in leading The Garage are two more familiar faces who between them have nearly 20 years experience with the venue.

Toni Bentley, the new learning and inclusion director, said: “Since joining The Garage eight years ago I have been honoured to be part of a team that has made such a positive impact on so many people.

“I am delighted to take on this new role and am looking forward to further developing The Garage’s formal and informal learning opportunities with local schools and partners, as well as strengthening the organisation’s national reputation for combining the highest artistic quality with exemplary youth work practice.”

Carrie Mansfield, the new creative director, said: “I have worked in The Garage for the past 11 years and in that time taken on many roles, from theatre practitioner and director to programme and participation manager. I am really excited about my new role as creative director and looking forward to creating many more performance opportunities and developing inspiring productions with our creative team and performers over the coming years.

“As we move into this new era I am very much focussed on continuing to build The Garage’s reputation as a national leader in performing arts participation and production.”

New executive director Adam Taylor has just taken over from outgoing chief executive Darren Grice, who left last week after guiding The Garage through its first decade.

Since its opening in 2004 The Garage has grown to be a vibrant venue that champions creativity in young people.

More recently it has offered opportunities for all ages alongside nurturing and presenting professional touring work – and Mr Taylor said there was lots more planned for The Garage’s future across the arts.

“There has been a phenomenal legacy left by Darren and now it is about building on that, building on the work with young people, and growing and reaching more people,” said 30-year-old Mr Taylor, who himself first attended drama classes at The Garage 11 years ago.

He later went on to become the venue’s technical manager and most recently its production and operations manager.

Among many other things, he said there were plans to do more work with young people out in the wider region, new adult classes set to start in September, and plans to bring more unique fringe theatre performances to The Garage.

One area he is especially excited about is supporting young theatre companies in the creation of new professional work and then 
also having those theatre companies work with young people at The Garage.

He said: “We have really ramped up the incubation side of things. We currently have [the performance company] Frozen Light in residence for two weeks before they go on tour with their show The Forest.

“The notion of being able to use this space to support companies developing work is very exciting and very much the next layer of the cake for us.”

Mr Taylor, who lives in Hedenham, near Bungay, and is executive producer of the theatre company All-In Productions, added that he was looking forward to visiting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next week to find new shows for The Garage’s 2016 season.

For more about The Garage visit www.thegarage.org.uk

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk


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