Slack Space Colchester, the volunteer run initiative to create arts usage of empty shops and locations has announced a move to larger premises, taking over the empty Marc Jason Shoe World premises on Queen Street, Colchester.

The decision was made following the lease of its current location in Long Wyre Street being taken over by Specsavers, something Slack Space are delighted with.

The Council has worked with Slack Space to agree a short-term tenancy on the new premises. Slack Spaces’ exhibitions, events and workshops will breathe new life into a former shop that has sat empty for years. It is now part of an area scheduled for development. The plan is to transform the run down area of town into a quarter for arts, entertainment, education, socialising, retail, cafes and restaurants, and business workspaces.

Abby Cheverst of Slack Space said “Although we are sad to be moving away from so many happy memories here, especially as over 13,000 visitors have come through the doors, but the fact the redundant shop space we took over last year has now found a new owner has made us very proud. We aim to brighten up slack spaces in Colchester and if our time at Long Wyre Street has encouraged people to look at the location favourably then part of our job is done. However, as one door closes another one opens and the Shoe World location is one we’ve had our sights on for many months.

It’s a huge space which will lend itself to all kinds of activity. We’re already looking at programming a series of talks in partnership with the University of Essex, and repeating our highly successful Guerrilla Shakespeare evenings. We look forward to continue to supporting not only up and coming artists, but also musicians, poets, performance artists and actors.”

Paul Smith Portfolio Holder for Resources, Culture and the Arts, Colchester Borough Council said: “This is a great initiative for Colchester, which we hope will appeal to a broad range of residents and visitors, in order to help address older and younger people’s needs for a broader selection of social activities in the town centre. By working with Slack Space, we hope to draw local people back into this area of town by giving them fun and creative things to do. There aren’t any firm rules about what makes up a Cultural Quarter and in Colchester we hope to engage local people in helping to shape the identity of this area now and in the future.”

Slack Space has always complemented its role as a highly successful community arts gallery with a monthly performance festival and other events. Moving will allow us to put on more events and to do them better. whilst continuing to support not only up and coming artists, but also musicians, poets, performance artists and actors.” Ms Cheverst added.

Slack Space in Long Wyre Street closes its doors this Saturday 27th March and will open its doors at the new premises in mid-April, with the official opening date to be announced in the Gazette, on Keep Colchester Cool, and the Slack Space website and Facebook group.

Firstsite provided advice, guidance and the practical support that was needed to get Slack Space off the ground. They have continued to support the voluntary group of artists to develop Slack Space into such a successful initiative. Firstsite are delighted that Slack Space have found the new premises.