A circus themed street performance will be coming to Thanet this weekend as part of a long-term project.
The free show takes place in Ramsgate High Street on Saturday, January 22 and at Westwood Cross on Sunday, January 23.
Inspired by Lord George Sanger’s Circus and Hotel, built in 1883 and which later became Ramsgate’s Royal Palace Theatre, Looping the Loop will provide entertainment for shoppers and awareness of a project to bring that history back to life.
Volunteers from Pie Factory Music and Heritage Lab will be around on the day to provide the latest on plans for Number 50, High Street, one of only four buildings to survive the demolition of the theatre in 1960.
The building opened as Sanger’s Ampitheatre from 1883 – 1907 and was known as Royal Palace Theatre from 1908 after refurbishment. This closed in 1960.
Number 50 was most recently used as a milkshake parlour and fashion shop. Rob Kenyon, CEO & Founder at Heritage Lab CIC, said: “We want as many people as possible to share their memories, photographs or stories about the entire lifetime of this once hugely popular building, hotel and theatre complex whilst it’s still possible to do so.”
Leading the project from Pie Factory Music, Steph Dickinson said: “Volunteers from our ACT youth group helped to design the performance with Looping the Loop and are learning new skills for this project which will also help them with job opportunities in the future.”
Heritage Lab was awarded a £60,000 grant by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to uncover the community history from the building’s heyday and to shine a spotlight on a building which has been derelict for seven years to increase the chances of it being used in the future.
The two-year grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) was awarded as part of a national programme to help the transformation of high streets and town centres in England by supporting charities and social enterprises to develop sustainable new uses for redundant or underused historic buildings.
Heritage Lab is one of the UK’s seven Heritage Development Trusts taking part in the national programme.
The CIC is keen to expand its board of directors to continue its attempts to help regenerate Ramsgate.
Heritage Lab wants to see Ramsgate’s heritage buildings and community assets brought back into sustainable use, creating community space, workspace and jobs and enhancing pride in the town. The CIC is mainly focused on the creative sector.
Last year the community interest company was awarded a Heritage Development Trust grant for 2 years from the Architectural Heritage Fund. Since then it has been successful with two smaller grant applications to research some of the buildings on the high street.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have been awarded a number of grants recently which will help us to find and research suitable sites to regenerate and to provide opportunities to train and involve local people. Our work has been able to support over 20 local jobs with the majority of those in the creative sector,” said Heritage Lab Chief Executive Officer Rob Kenyon.
Since the inception of the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone, there has been considerable investment in heritage sites the Royal Sands, Old Gas works and Old Police Station developments which will creating new homes and local jobs. Further investment is on its way with £2.7million from the government’s Future High Street fund and £19.8million from the Levelling up Fund.
Bernie Morgan, Non-Executive Director at Heritage Lab added: “We are keen to encourage applicants from a range of backgrounds to help us to be as representative as possible of our community. We are particularly keen to encourage applicants with financial, property development, creative practice and events experience. Whilst these roles are unremunerated there are plenty of opportunities for getting involved in training, events and conferences”.
Anyone interested can visit https://heritagelab.org.uk/blog/ to find out more.
The events will run from 11am to 4pm both days. To find out more visit: heritagelab.org.uk