A former parish centre in Sunderland is to reopen as an arts centre, offering classes in stilt-walking and costume-making.
The former St Hilda’s parish centre, in the suburb of Southwick, has been taken over by North East-based carnival and events company the Creative Seed, which is refurbishing the venue and will relaunch it as Carnival House next month.
The arts space will host performances and exhibitions, in addition to a programme of workshops and activities including costume-making, hip hop, aerial classes and stilt walking.
The acquisition of the parish centre comes shortly after the community company took over St Hilda’s Pit Head in South Shields, which is now being used as its head office and as an arts space.
The Creative Seed’s artistic director Sandy Harris said she hoped the renovation of the parish centre would breathe new life into the building.
She said: “The transformation of the building is spectacular and we’re sure everyone that sees it will be blown away and realise what a huge asset this is to the area.
“We have some amazingly ambitious plans and we’re offering a mixed programme of workshops and events so there will be something for everyone.”
She added: “It’s a very exciting venture for us and we hope people will come along and not only be amazed at the transformation but will also see Carnival House as something of real value for the area.
The centre will have an onsite carnival-themed cafe, and will also host evening entertainment. It is due to open on March 27.