On 13 March at around 4.20pm a fire started at Battersea Arts Centre (BAC). Everyone was safely evacuated but tragically we lost the beautiful Grand Hall and our offices below.
I was at the Albany when I heard. I was marking out the floor plan of BAC’s Council Chamber for a show our young company is transferring to the building as part of the Hourglass Festival. Stevanie was the first person to ring me and make sure I was ok. When I realised the scale of the fire I knew I needed to go, to be with the team, to see the building, to understand.
I also knew that The Agency would run the following day. It wasn’t even really a thought process. Because we will not stop, we don’t know how.
The Agency takes place at Providence House Youth Club, one of our many incredible community partners. I contacted Deanna, Josh, Flora and Tref to make sure all the Agents were ready for action and knew that this would not affect the brilliant work they are creating in our community.
It was a big day. Get Fit Fast were launching the first of their fun fitness sessions for 7-11 year olds in partnership with Carney’s Community. Through this exciting partnership Get Fit Fast will be able to run for the next year and we hope beyond.
Sydney’s Naturals worked out their first ‘how to’ video for online customers. Zack headed up to Shoreditch to meet the master mind behind so many Agency logos, Guy Sanders and get some top tips on how to improve his own design work as well as getting the Sydney’s Naturals logo in shipshape.
Talent-Scene took Josh and me to see Christian’s home studio set up in his bedroom. In a new age Narnia a wardrobe panel opens to reveal a soundproof mic booth! Mega impressed! We then made our way to the rooftop of Winstanley to film promo clips with two of the freshest Talent-Scene artists Zion Foster & Poetical Justice (Stevanie).
You can see all over London at the top of the estate. The block to our right was obscuring the new iconic image of BAC’s Grand Hall ruin.
Looking out, it made me realise the possibilities that BAC creates within its community. It is an organisation with true vision; it is courageous in its belief in the power of ideas, risks and the transformative nature of creativity and that is felt way beyond its walls.
BAC is at Providence House every Saturday, it is in Carney’s Community Boxing Gym, it is at the top of Winstanley Estate, it is with the Agents, it is in their ideas. It is with artists, audiences, participants, it is in the future, the future of Battersea, the future that will rise from the ashes.
I agree with Tom Morris’s tweet, BAC is a house of dreams, but you don’t have to be inside to dream.