We offer theatre based training in presentation skills for business and charity leaders led by Richard Hahlo. Richard has an international reputation based on his work with the National Theatre and his own company, Dramatic Resources. He kindly delivers for us at a discounted rate as he is a friend of the Old Fire Station. Thank you Richard! This means you can access the best presentation skills training on the market for just £325 inclusive. The next training day is on Wednesday 3rd July. To find out more or book a place click here In the Spotlight July 2013.
We need experienced artists to work with us on a fantastic new project at the Old Fire Station. It involves working with people who are sleeping rough in Oxford to create a high quality installation for the entrance to our city centre venue. Check out Art Off the Streets Project Brief Final. Deadline for submissions is 7th May. Get in touch!
2013 has begun and New Year’s Resolutions have been formed, the world didn’t end on the 21st December and no doubt a number of us have grown a little over the Christmas and New Year period… (I know I have!) What better excuse then to get your dancing shoes on and fulfil those New Year’s resolutions at the Old Fire Station?
The New Year has brought with it a full programme of regular dance classes to suffice the pickiest of people. We start the week off with Zumba, Youth Dance, Ballet, Flamenco, Contemporary, Tap and Hip-Hop. If that isn’t enough to tempt you, then Salsa, more Ballet and lunch time Pilates may do the trick… Still not pushing your buttons? Then try out Okinawan Karate, or advanced ballet later on in the week.
In short, regardless of whether you are looking to work off some mince pies, meet new people, improve your posture, gain flexibility, learn something new or improve on techniques you haven’t used since childhood, there is plenty to choose from here at the Old Fire Station to kick-start 2013 in a way that you mean to go on!
For full listings of our classes, go to Our Website
To coincide with the fact we have now been here for a year, we’re launching our Friend Scheme and we want you to join us.
We’ve put together a sparkling array of monthly donation options so that you can help us carry on what we’re doing and make it even bigger and better. The more friends we make the more artist’s we’ll be able to help along their career path, the more homeless people we’ll be able to support through the arts and the more exciting events and exhibitions, projects and workshops we’ll be able to put on here and you’ll be able to attend. So what are you waiting for, are you a Tinder Box or a Big Bang? A roaring Bonfire or a Sparkler?
Take a look a the options below and see what we can give you back as a thank you.
In a week, one of our most looked forward to shows of the season arrives on stage. Charles Dickens’ Dombey & Son has been beautifully adapted by Jude Emmet from Red Dog Theatre Company. Already reviewers are saying it’s Red Dog’s “finest production to date” and “is a must-see production”. So take a look at the rehearsal photo’s, read the reviews and find out more about the Red Dog Theatre Company. We’re sure after you’ve done all of that you’ll be booking Tuesday 9th October at 7.30pm into the diary and purchasing your tickets!
We know after that you’re tempted….
Happy New Year everyone! I’ve not written this blog since we opened in November. It’s been frantic here! I’m delighted to say that in our first two months we welcomed over a thousand people on our opening day, ran a series of fantastic sell ourt shows and successful classes and sold really well in our beautiful new shop. Don’t miss our first exhibition of the year in our gallery – Plus 1. Read about it on the main website.
I was lucky enough to see three great local shows over Christmas: Creation’s ‘Christmas Carol’ at the North Wall, the hilarious ‘Grimm and Grimmer’ at Pegasus and perfect panto at Chipping Norton Theatre. I wonder what the Old Fire Station could do for Christmas next year….?
Our new website at this address launches in the forthcoming week so keep your eyes peeled for that. Meanwhile building delays are making things pretty complicated here but we remain undaunted and will open as planned. We’ve got a private view of our Urban Art exhibition on 3rd Nov followed by an opening event for an invited audience on the 4th and an open day for everyone on the 5th. We are then open for business from the 7th. We’ve got a range of exhibitions, performances and classes so come and have a look at this site next week to find out more.
We now have two volunteers coordinating our volunteers! If you want to get involved then contact them at email@example.com . We need help in the shop and gallery, front of house, back stage and in the office with admin, fundraising and business development. If you want to join a friendly bunch trying to make something amazing happen then get in touch.
It’s been a while since I wrote because we are buried in the detailed business of getting ready to open. We are heading for an open day on 5th Nov to which everyone is invited. The building will be open from 09.30 to 17.00 with tours at 10, 12, 2 and 4 when the spaces will be animated by actors, musicians and dancers. You’ll also be able to view our opening urban art exhibition and the wonderful new permanent work created by homeless people and artists Rachel Barberesi and Emma Reynard.
Meanwhile we are having to work alongside the builders as they finish off and try and get everything lined up for you to come and enjoy. There’ll be plenty more to do after we open as not everything will be in place but we will have a great building ready to explore and make use of. Can’t wait.
If you want to get involved in the shop at the Old Fire Station, click here and get in touch.
I called in at the Botanic Garden today to find 16 homeless people drawing plants, gathering materials and discussing ideas fior the permanent artwork for the reception. You can learn more at the artists’ blog http://artistsofs.blogspot.com/ Brilliant. This is what it’s all about.
Opening in November 2011, the Shop at the Old Fire Station will offer Oxford a unique and constantly growing selection of high quality products by outstanding artists and designer makers – right in the heart of the city. This will be the perfect place to buy a unique gift, spot something beautiful for yourself or find a new artwork to adorn your walls. With our wide range of prices, and styles we’ll be combining fresh new artists with a few firm favorites, so you’ll find something to suit all purses.
For more info follow the link below
Welcome to Emily who is now our full time shop and gallery manager. Check out the new shop page…
Sarah Hughes has undertaken a residency at the Old Fire Station during the building process. Her practice involves the arrangement of material, treating the site as a platform. She describes her understanding of space ‘not simply as a neutral container but as a tool in itself’. Some of her work will be up on this site soon.
Meanwhile the opening commission is picking up pace and taster sessions have happened at Steppin Stone and Gatehouse drop in centres. The Botanic Garden is offering free workspace for the artists and the University Museum is providing samples to stuimulate the creative process. When we open the building, the unveiling of this artwork will be a big moment. Amongst many other things it will be bringing the natural world through sculpture into an industrial building.
Fixtures Fittings and Equipment – otherwise known as FF+E – are becoming a headache. On a tight budget how do you choose between adequate IT and phones, hanging equipment for the gallery, projection facility for the theatre, displays for the shop and something for staff to sit on?….decisions…decisions.
Oxfringe, who will defintely be at the Old Fire Station next year, comes to an end on Sunday with a dance competition involving local ‘personalities’ performing different styles with professional coaches and being judged. And yes I’m dancing Salsa for the first time ever. It’s at Pegasus and the judges are Claire Thompson, Euton Daley and Cecilia Macfarlane. I know them well and I’ve got a feeling they’re going to give me a hard time.
Last Thursday I performed with DugOut Community Dance Company at Pegasus. Dancers of all shapes and sizes making and showing work full of humour and feeling. I was nervous that it would be good to do but not great to watch. The audience were very reassuring – they loved it. The following night, I was back at Pegasus to see our own Miranda Laurence sing like an angel in John Duggan’s new choral work called ‘Dance’ and performed by his choir Sospiri. The piece was commissioned by my good friend Cecilia Macfarlane and acted as a prelude to her solo dance performance ‘I’ll leave you to yourself then…’ This was an extraordinary exploration of the agony of losing a son and how within that agony there is still room to celebrate. I’ve never known a full house be so quiet and attentive. And what’s the connection with Old Fire Station? Miranda has been our administrator since we were formed and Cecilia will be curating the first public performance at OFS in October in partnership with Pegasus and which, we hope, will include DugOut. More on this later….
How do you make a fantastic permanent art work to sit in the new building which will intrigue and inspire for years to come in collaboration with a group of homeless people? How do you make sure that the participants are genuinely involved throughout? What will it be about? What will it be made of? How will it be installed? We’ve had some fantastic proposals and have decided to appoint Emma Reynard and Rachel Barberesi. They will now be working with Lucy Phillips to meet with homeless people and form a group to make it happen. Their work will be unveiled when we open in the autumn. I have no idea what it will be but I know it’s going to be good.
We have a new General Manager joining the team in June. She is Becca Vallins and brings experience of working at the Almeida Theatre, the Barbican, National Trust and English Heritage. Hurray!
Here’s a post from Emily Alexander, who’s recently joined the team to manage the development of the Old Fire Station shop concept:
Having been tasked with turning the current shell that opens up onto Gloucester Green into an inviting, innovative and affordable outlet for emerging creative talent, high quality artwork and crafted objects, I have to say I’m excited at the prospect. Over the next few months I’ll be working away to creating something new and individual for Oxford city centre. I ‘ll be sourcing some of the best designer/makers and artists from Oxfordshire and the surrounding areas, figuring out the processes and logistics, as well as the key task of how the shop will integrate into the rest of the Old Fire Station. Lots of questions, lots of ideas and definitely lots of potential! If you have any thoughts, suggestions or comments, I’d be delighted to hear from you. You can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily Alexander has now joined us in a freelance capacity to develop the shop. This will sell art and design objects made primarily by local artists and makers. Emily will be thinking through how to source stock, how to brand the shop, who to target and of course all the operational detail. Meanwhile Lucy Phillips is project managing the opening commission and we’ve just shortlisted from a brilliant set of applications AND we’ve also shortlisted for the post of General Manager – again a very high quality field. It’s all go at the Old Fire Station.
From the moment I thought about applying for this job it seemed to me that the most interesting thing about it has always been the opportunity to make what the Arts Company does integral to the mission of CRISIS Skylight and vice versa. Indeed, what could be more intriguing than a public building offering wonderful creative opportunities to the general public and sharing space with some of the most marginalised people in our community…and to make it work as a business! I’m really enjoying sitting with Kate and her colleagues from CRISIS and allowing the operational implications of these grand sentiments to emerge and then finding possible ways forward. All in the spirit of – we’ve not done this before but it is definitely worth doing. The concept is complex but the delivery has to be simple.
We invited some dance leaders to view the site as they think about whether to hire the space for classes and events. Here are some pictures of our new home, as of early April…
Rhiannon is excited about wearing fluorescent…
This will be the Arts @ OFS office
Looking through the reception area towards the cafe
The gallery and atrium, looking towards the other side of the cafe.
Twelve artists looked round the building today to help them think about what they could do with a group of homeless people to create a pernmanent artwork for the building. Submissions have to be in by 12th May. Check out the Projects page for more information.
We now have a queue of dance teachers wanting to hire space for classes which is great. But there are lots of clashes so how do we decide which classes take priority? And if we fill the spaces with regular evening classes (which brings people and money into the building doing creative stuff) that means we can’t accommodate theatre and other companies who want the space for occasional week long runs. Meanwhile we have very different styles of visual artists and crafts people wanting to exhibit in the gallery. Are we all things to all people or do we have a particual leaning to a particular style or form? ‘What’s your artistic policy?’ I hear you cry. Well we have a vision which says we support emerging artists, showcase innovative art, include vulnerable people, are accessible to the public and generate income. So that’s pretty well everything! I wrote it so I can’t really complain. Is it possible to offer something that is genuinely for everyone without it turning into being for no-one? Decisions, decisions….
Do you want to make a permanent art work with a group of homeless or vulnerably housed people to sit in the new Old Fire Station? This is a fantastic opportunity to make some great art, add to Oxford’s public space and put a firm stamp of inclusion and creativity on the new building. Proposals have to be in by 12th May. If you want to look at the building first you can join a tour on 19th April if you let us know by the 15th (Friday). Miranda is away and I haven’t yet learned how to put a pdf onto this blog (yes I am typical of my demographic) so if you want the brief email me email@example.com .
I’m running to raise funds for Pegasus on 7th May. I’m part of a team of trustees trying to raise funds for our retiring chair’s bursary to help young carers make use of Pegasus. Please support us by going to our giving page. If you don’t know Pegasus then you should take a look at their website. A brilliant organisation on whose board I’ve been proud to serve for over nine years.
Hot off the Press!
Within the new development will be six purpose built studios available for hire to artists, designers and makers. Each studio is 3mx3m and constructed of 2m high chipboard panels in one shared space. Each will contain
- A lockable storage pod
- A fold away desk
- A lamp
- Space for large flat items (eg canvas)
- Electricity supply and data access point
- 24 hour access through staff only entrance
- Easily accessible toilet facilities
- Shared use of tea making facilities and separate artists’ sink
- Fully wheelchair accessible throughout
- Car parking space for short term loading only
The studios are not suitable for artists that create a lot of noise, dust, smell or wet mess.
Rent is £150 pcm + a service charge of £10 pcm (covering utilities and cleaning of shared areas)
A licence will normally be for 12 months but this can be varied if agreed in advance.
Our gallery and shop may present opportunities for you to showcase and/or sell work.
Please download the pdf file to find out more details and how to hire a space:
I’m off to see Humble Boy at the Playhouse tomorrow produced by old friends of the Old Fire Station. And then I’m off to The Spin – one of the best jazz clubs in the country who also want to be part of OFS. Meanwhile I’m meeting dancers at the building this afternoon who want to hire space for regular classes.
My friend Paul Hodgkin who is a GP and runs a social enterprise called Patient Opinion (worth a look) told me I should go to Oxford Jam which is a fringe to the Skoll World Forum. I called in briefly and met a pile of social entrepreneurs talking about ways of linking money to meaning. It seems to me that old fire station is the prime example of the challenge of bringing together people who can do meaning with people who can do money. Social entrepreneurs are that rare breed that can do both. I’m learning very fast but thanks to a few chance connnections, I’m now working hard to see if we can attract investment from people with money who can see the potential for OFS to turn uncertainty into opportunity. Thanks for the introductions, Paul.
Oxford City Council have given us money to commission an artist to work with homeless people and make something brilliant as a permanent feature for the new bulilding. We met to discuss it today for the first time. Lucy Phillips is going to project manage it. Some of you may know her as administrator at OVADA. A brief will be going out next week inviting artists to put in a proposal. We’ll then be recruiting people who are homeless and would like to be part of making it. Where it goes depends on what it is but it may be a huge thing on the tower or a small thing on a wall or even a piece of furniture. Its great starting something which could go anywhere. It’s also good to know that we’ll be giving a permanent home to a piece of art.
So my first blog. Welcome to Arts at the Old Fire Station – long awaited and now on its way. I’ve got the glorious title of director which sounds like I’ve got a big team of people to direct. Well, for now, it’s just me BUT I’m surrounded by help from people with an amazing array of backgrounds all keen to make this work. For example, this blog page has been put together by Miranda Laurence with help from Pete Cranston. I’m still trying to understand how we are going to make sure the Old Fire Station does all the things we want from it but plans are beginning to form. I’ve been talking with Emily Alexander from Launch Collaborative and she came up with the title of this blog which sums up the OFS. It’s really exciting and innovative…but what exactly is it? If you want to get involved and help work out what it is - send us an email. Over the next few weeks I’ll tell you about all the people and organisations I’ve been meeting (Oxford is just packed full of creative folk), what we’re intending to do and how you can get involved. We’ll also be slowly building up this site to give you more information. If you know nothing at all about the Old Fire Station then click on the CRISIS link – there’s lots of good background about the project. I particularly like the history page. That’s because I like history.
Keep in touch