Coming from someone who is constantly banging on about how well-served Newcastle and the North East are for arts venues, it might seem weird that I am supporting the crowdfunding of another one. But the truth is, it’s often a long journey to reach the stage of one of the more established venues, and one that is inaccessible to many. Without a pipeline of talent, how can bigger venues thrive?
The ongoing redevelopment of the city centre has also seen many smaller spaces close as galleries and rehearsal spaces are turfed out to make room for more lucrative tenants. (One of my favourite pictures is one I bought at the final show in a gallery housed in a building on Northumberland that will soon be an office block, giving it a bittersweet nostalgia value).
Boho Arts, founded by two members of the Suggestibles improv comedy group, Bev Fox and Ian McLaughlin, are trying to change that. The idea is that Boho Arts will redevelop an unloved building into a shiny new venue that will include a theatre, workshop rooms and a café, a genuine creative community centre with space for grassroots artists to practise, grow and develop. Formed as a charity company, the venture has already attracted funding from the North of Tyne Combined Authority, and is running a crowdfunder to raise the rest of the funds. But crowdfunding is a brutal beast with no medals for effort – if you don’t raise the full total, you don’t get any of the money.
Luckily, the group has attracted the support of some big guns, with Vera creator and best-selling author Ann Cleeves hosting a a Murder Mystery in March to raise funds for the project. The event is being held on Sunday 5th March at the Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre – another local venue that deserves your support, so you get the chance to boost two worthy ventures and have a great night out!
“I’m delighted to host a fun murder mystery to support this fabulous project. Boho Arts will provide a wonderfully inclusive space for creative people throughout the region ” – Ann Cleeves, Author
You can find details on the event here and support the fundraiser here. (Proving I like to put my money where my mouth is, I already donated, honest). If you are too skint to support it – and lord knows plenty of people are feeling that right now, no judgment here – you can always give them a boost on social media in the hope that you put them in front of folk who might be able to chip in.
Boho Arts on Social Media:
Bev Fox and Ann Cleeves. (Photo: Joe Haydon Photography)