Yarmouth to conduct study to help capitalise on town's cultural 'buzz'

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome panto cast at the Christmas light switch on event. Picture: Danielle Boode

The cast of Aladdin at the Christmas light switch on event. The council hopes to learn more about how to make the most of its cultural spaces. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A project is to be launched to help Great Yarmouth make the most of its cultural assets, like theatres and other venues.

The borough council has been awarded £20,000 from Arts Council England to fund what it calls an "independent cultural asset study".

The scheme is intended to help the town capitalise on its growing reputation as a centre for artistic innovation.

Its cultural credentials were highlighted last year by the surprise arrival of artworks by Banksy and its inclusion in a list of artistic visitor attractions.

The study is designed to provide the council with a better idea of Yarmouth and Gorleston’s existing cultural sites and  help it to broaden their reach and impact. It will also allow the authority to identify areas for investment.

The council hopes that the findings will allow it to “create a dynamic digital resource that maps the sector by mapping cultural, economic and brand potential and providing a clear remit for council investment in arts and culture”.

It also says the study should “uncover unknowns about the potential benefits of cultural provision in the town”.

A report provided to councillors points out that Yarmouth “has fairly rapidly become the centre of a series of high level funding successes, bids and national interest”, including the artworks by Banksy and a September 2021 Guardian article which recommended the town’s arts scene as one of 20 of the best autumn escapes around the UK. 

It comes after Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk councils discovered at the end of last year that they had failed in their bid to jointly become UK City of Culture 2025.

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Following the news, both authorities pledged to keep culture as key focus in the regeneration of their areas.

Graham Plant, Councillor, at the grand reopening of the Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake, Great Y

Conservative councillor Graham Plant, who chairs Great Yarmouth Borough Council's economic development committee - Credit: Archant

The funding and plans for the study were noted at a Monday meeting of the council’s economic development committee, at which Conservative chairman Graham Plant said: “We must note as well that over the last two years, these people [involved in the arts] haven’t had an income, they haven’t been able to go out there and raise anything, they haven’t been able to do anything - and we haven’t been able therefore to monitor what it is that they’re doing.”

Members also agreed at the meeting to extend the funding they already provide annually to three of the town’s cultural organisations - the Norfolk Museums Service, St George’s Trust and Out There Arts - by a further year.