Magic Torch have a bit of history with the Sugar Sheds, having first proposed them as a potential cultural space way back in 2002, then through our campaign of a few years back. So we're always interested in seeing what's happening in them as time moves slowly on. And what's happening in June, is a really ambitious performance piece called White Gold, staged as part of the Commonwealth Games celebrations.
It's a show you can only see here, about people from this town, featuring local folks performing in one of our most historic buildings. Last week, I was lucky enough to get a wander through the sheds and a spoiler free overview of some of the things that are planned for the performances. It sounds fantastic. Take a friend, take yer school, community group, darts team...whoever...it's a real one off that looks like it might be something pretty special. Seriously. Get your tickets now.
Obviously, whatever future there may one day be for the Sugar Sheds, longer term it needs to help generate local jobs and income - just like they did many years ago. There are no shortage of ideas, from heritage centre and community workshop, to a Wee Tate art gallery and a live music venue. The reality is, that the space is so huge, you could probably get away with doing a few of those without ever getting in the road of one another. And of course, at the moment, the sheds also play host to a successful marina. Ideas aren't actually the hard bit though, doing things is the hard part - and if it was easy to solve the puzzle of the Sugar Sheds, someone would probably have done it by now...and to be clear, that time they nearly burned down doesn't count :)
For now doing things in the sheds takes risk and investment, not the easiest things to get people interested in, particularly with some of the unique challenges that the sheds face. Though folks interested in making the Sheds or any other historic buildings work for communities alongside private investment should check out the excellent new Building Resources Investment and Community Knowledge programme from Princes Trust.
Meantime though, and while there is no definite master-plan for the building, projects like White Gold help shine a light on the space, and generate a debate about what's to be done with them. All of which is better than simply leaving them to slowly crumble again, especially after so much money has been spent to get them wind and watertight. Let's not be afraid of having our expectations raised, lets try enjoying it for a change.
White Gold ticket sales