New arts space planned for Bury St Edmunds

The Wuffings Studio - Julia Salmon and Paul Gort ANL-140304-085113001
The Wuffings Studio - Julia Salmon and Paul Gort ANL-140304-085113001
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Plans to open the only co-operatively owned theatre space in Britain in Bury St Edmunds were put to art lovers on Wednesday evening.

A presentation at the Theatre Royal detailed plans to open an inclusive, community run, theatre and arts space with cafe/ bar facilities.

The Wuffings Studio is the idea of Julia Salmon and Paul Gort.

Julia said: “It’s possible that we could have a community run studio theatre expanded to include arts and crafts space, the ability to have a workshop facility and a small cinema - it really depends on what the level of interest is.”

The meeting was held to assess support for the idea in the town.

Julia told those gathered that the facilities could be used by existing arts and theatre groups, schools, artists and new organisations.

She said: “We need to first of all gather how many people are interested in the idea of the project.

“What we are looking to do is to have further discussions with the county council in early June to see whether we can negotiate a property, leasing it on a charity basis, or if people are sufficiently interested to run as a co-operative and buy the property.”

For this idea to become a reality those gathered heard that The Wuffings project would need to raise the money secure a property and establish a team of volunteers.

Julia suggested looking to open as an industrial and provident society.

Under this model shares would be sold to raise the initial capital to purchase or lease a building that could then be converted.

Shareholders would each have a vote to influence how the co-operative was run.

Other options presented were opening as a charity, a community interest company or a limited company with charity status.

Whatever route was taken Julia said it would be a minimum of two years before the building was ready to open.

Julia and Paul will now look to assess the level of support in the area and form a steering group to guide the project.

If you are interested in becoming involved contact them on