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New studio opens at The Forum

PUBLISHED: 09:29 07 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:36 03 July 2010

SINCE its construction, the Forum in Norwich has revolutionised both the architectural and cultural landscape of the city.

Now Norfolk people will have a unique opportunity to broadcast their own stories as part of a new attraction at the Forum which opens today - a scheme described by one contributor as helping it become a true 21st-century equivalent of the Roman forum.

SINCE its construction, the Forum in Norwich has revolutionised both the architectural and cultural landscape of the city.

Now Norfolk people will have a unique opportunity to broadcast their own stories as part of a new attraction at the Forum which opens today - a scheme described by one contributor as helping it become a true 21st-century equivalent of the Roman forum.

Fusion, based in the former Origins museum, features Europe's biggest public television - boasting a 24 x 2.5-metre high-definition screen. The gallery will be used to showcase films, images and sounds produced by people across the county.

Visitors will be invited to make their own contributions which will either be broadcast on the screen or on local BBC channels.

The facility, which is open to all, also includes a BBC Voices and Open Studio which allows members of the public to draw on professional expertise.

Film-making and radio workshops will be offered free to individuals, schools and community groups.

Alongside this is a television and radio studio, making it possible for participants to bring to life a professional broadcast.

Tim Bishop, head of BBC East, said: “Our aim is to use the skills and expertise of the BBC to help other people tell their stories, create some powerful learning opportunities and giving a chance for people to tell their unique story in their way.

“We've run a wide a variety of pioneering projects with schools, individuals and groups and now want to expand that work into new areas building on the experience we've been developing in Voices.

“This new facility will allow individuals and community groups to produce films, at little more than the cost of their own time, which may be broadcast or may simply be for their own use.”

Among those already taking advantage of the opportunity is Julie Slaughter, from Wymondham, who is part of a group making films about the reality of retirement.

She said: “Since I retired and lost my husband I've been asking myself 'what am I here for?' This project has helped me understand that by focusing on all the positive parts of my life, like my family and friends.

“If this facility didn't exist I might be able to organise some photos on my computer at home but here I get to meet other people and we learn from each other.”

Fifteen-year-olds Martin Richards, from Acle, and Sam Holmes, from Norwich, also use the facilities.

Sam researches information on bands as part of BBC Introducing series which aims to showcase upcoming acts. Martin takes part in, and makes videos of, parkour - a street sport which sees participants move athletically through the urban environment.

Martin said: “There can be negative perceptions about parkour and young people in general. This is a chance to show people what we do.”

The project is a partnership between The Forum Trust, BBC East and City College Norwich.

It also includes The Curve, a purpose-built auditorium combining high-definition technology with flexible presentation, performance and screening opportunities.

The Curve is available for hire by everyone from businesses, not-for-profit organisations, community groups and individuals.

Robin Hall, chief executive of The Forum Trust, said: “The new facilities support the trust's passionate belief that the Forum should continue to inspire and excite.

“This means continuing investment and innovation to maintain its status as a vital and relevant resource for all the community. By working with BBC East and City College, who have enriched the enterprise with their skills, resources and expertise, we have succeeded in bringing a fresh and truly unique dimension to the Forum.”


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