Guided by the government’s roadmap for lockdown restrictions easing, Woolwich Works is set to open on 23 September 2021
UK - Woolwich Works is set to open in September, bringing a new creative district to southeast London.
Led by Royal Borough of Greenwich, the £31.6m project - which is transforming the historic Royal Arsenal site into a cultural hub that will include a concert venue, studios and other event spaces - will be the home for local performing arts collectives including immersive theatre company Punchdrunk, Europe's first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra Chineke! Orchestra, as well as National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Greenwich-based dance company Protein, and the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair.
The new district includes a 1,200 seated or 1,800 standing performance venue; an external courtyard for performances; five studios, which will also be used for performances and rehearsals spaces; cafe, bar and spaces for community groups and the general public, plus hire spaces for weddings, parties, conferences and events.
James Heaton, Woolwich Works chief executive, comments: “The past year has been painful. Hardship, loss and suffering are not the things that should be uniting people. That is the job of music, theatre, dance, circus, cabaret and comedy - and now, finally, shows are coming back. I’m excited that our stunning new venue will play a part in supporting artists to get back on stage, and bringing audiences back together to once again share the unique experience of live performance.
Woolwich Works and its artists in residence will work with the local community and schools on a wide range of projects and schemes once the district has officially launched, alongside creating jobs in the area with “meaningful progression routes into the creative industries”.
Valerie Vaughan-Dick, Woolwich Works’ chair, says: “We are so pleased to be at the stage that we can announce the opening of Woolwich Works. The team has been working hard and remained dynamic with plans throughout the unprecedented pandemic. As much as the delay is disappointing, we are going to be opening with the best start and are looking forward to honouring all of our objectives, especially targeting all aspects of diversity.
“We know employment numbers have been affected in the sector and we are in a great position to start tackling that challenge. Initiatives such as our ‘Step Up‘ programme and the relationships we are building with local colleges, training institutions and universities will support this step change.”
Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Danny Thorpe comments, “Woolwich is the civic and cultural centre of the borough, and now it will be an arts destination for people from across London, England and beyond. Our residents will benefit from new jobs and the extra visitors will bring money into the local economy, as well as all of the opportunities that will arise from having a world class facility like this on our doorstep.
“People have long said that London is shifting east, and to be opening Woolwich Works in our part of the city is further proof of that. I passionately believe that the arts and culture should be accessible for people from all walks of life, and I’m really pleased that our residents, community groups and schools will be able to make the most of such brilliant opportunities.”
Originally due to launch in 2020, Woolwich Works’ opening has been delayed by ongoing disruption to building works and increased safety measures as a result of COVID-19. But with the majority of construction nearly complete now, internal fitting will soon begin, readying the new destination for an opening on 23 September.

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