May 3rd, 2023.

Theatre, music, heritage, young people and community; the 2023 Newhaven Arts Growth Fund seeds a year of culture and creativity.

The beneficiaries of the Growth Fund grants have been announced and they promise a rich and varied calendar of events. The successful local organisations are Haven Young Creatives, Ignite Theatre Company, Ring in the New, Hospitable Environment, and Newhaven Festival. Now in its second year, the Newhaven Arts Growth Fund, which is funded by the Newhaven Enterprise Zone, continues to support a growing wealth of creative and cultural experiences in the Sussex harbour town.

Youth theatre group Haven Young Creatives will create Newhaven Lights: an all day family festival in November, culminating in a celebratory lantern procession accompanied by local musician Nick Pynn and the Newhaven Folk Band. HYC Director Siou Hannam hopes Newhaven Lights will become an annual fixture in the town: “This funding gives us an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate winter time. Local artists will co-create a day of making lanterns and music ending in a procession that will light up the streets of Newhaven. Newhaven Lights will help Haven Young Creatives to create an event for the family to celebrate the magic of a lantern procession in Newhaven.”

Building on a growing run of successful shows, Ignite Theatre will be funding their Christmas production of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. Artistic Director and Producer Lisa Fairfield is grateful for the support; “over three years the Ignite players have worked tremendously hard to bring professional productions to the local community at affordable prices. The award of this grant is a significant enabler for this objective of ours. We can now walk front-footed in gathering local talent and build a Christmas show which all the community can enjoy.”

Ring in the New is a multi-strand project which celebrates the National Lottery Heritage funded restoration and return of Piddinghoe’s historic church bells this April. Their award will fund a special event later this summer, project Lead Ben May explained; “We are delighted that we can fully realise Ring in the New with the support of the Newhaven Arts Growth fund. It will enable the composer Chris Moore (of VOCES8) to collaborate with Tide Mills Choir and Harbour Primary School children to create a unique piece of music drawing on the rich and diverse stories from the community of Piddinghoe gathered by our wonderful team of student oral historians from Seahaven Academy. A world premiere of aspirational and beautiful music on the 22nd July in Piddinghoe!”

Hospitable Environment is a Newhaven-based arts organisation that uses food and creativity to connect with local people and to explore what it takes to build safe, happy and sustainable communities. Their projects include the woodfired community bread oven from the Tidemills Project, and Soup & Social - a regular free shared meal and community conversation about life in Newhaven. Co-director Ellie Johnson-Bullock explained how they will use the funds to underpin their ongoing programme; “This grant will enable us to take the next steps with our organisational development which will build our capacity to deliver high quality, open-access creative opportunities and events in Newhaven through 2023 and beyond.”

Last but not least, Newhaven Festival, which is entering its 6th year of curating a diverse lineup of events, performances, talks and walks throughout the town, its industrial edgelands, and the landscape beyond. Combined with ongoing funding from Newhaven Town Council, Festival Director Rhoda Funnell is planning events including Bicycle Ballet, music at the Bandstand and a Glyndebourne Youth Opera event, as well as developing a regular ‘What’s On’ guide for Newhaven. She said, “we are excited to be using the Growth grant to commission more events, develop the website and - with the help of Sussex Downs College - sponsor two young people studying graphic design and marketing and communications.”

Visit to stay posted.

Newhaven’s Creative Producer Nick Stockman, who chaired the selection panel and oversees the delivery and evaluation of the BN9 cultural programme, is excited for the year ahead. "I am so pleased that the Newhaven Enterprise Zone has invested in arts and culture in Newhaven by awarding grants through an open access fund. The selection panel has chosen a really inspiring range of ideas from a very high-quality field, and these projects and events are going to make a big contribution to the cultural life of the community this year. I can't wait to see these activities in action!"
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