Creative hub launched in city centre

A new creative centre has opened in Sheffield to widen arts and cultural participation in the city.

The Utopia Theatre Creative Hub, on Rockingham Gate in the city centre, is the vision of Mojisola Kareem-Elufowoju, CEO and artistic director at Utopia Theatre.

She identified the need to create this type of facility for creative professionals and as an inspiring place to introduce more people to theatre and arts.

She said: “Having the chance to express yourself through theatre, whether that’s acting, singing or dancing, helps to boost confidence and build community connections.

Mojisola Kareem-Elufowoju

“Our Utopia Theatre Creative Hub is a safe and inclusive space providing affordable opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to learn new things in a supportive environment.

“Creative professionals will be using the space as a lab and platform to rehearse and create brilliant pieces of work –  we’re here to help nurture their careers.

“It will also be home to our Youth Academy, regular adult dance classes and so much more. We are so excited to open our doors – having arts and cultural opportunities which are accessible to more people is essential to raising aspirations.”

Vibrant patterns and artwork adorn the floor and walls of the new space, which has been designed by local artist Jack Poole to inspire everyone who visits to collaborate.

At the front of the Creative Hub is a gallery for artists to display their work; helping them to reach new audiences in a high footfall area of the city.

More than 130 people attended a celebratory opening of the hub. They were treated to an array of African and Caribbean dancing and singing performances, a panel discussion and a showcase of African art.

The event also marked the 10th anniversary of Utopia Theatre, which stages contemporary productions nationally and internationally.

Sonia Gayle, chair of the African Heritage Culture Forum, who spoke at the opening, added: “Mojisola and the Utopia Theatre team are to be congratulated – in the city of Sheffield we now have a Creative Hub and immersive performance space that enables more people to experience authentic stories of African heritage, culture and history.

Sonia Gayle

“Theatre can be an effective vehicle for social cohesion and Utopia Theatre’s workshops will help break down barriers. On behalf of the Forum, I wish them every success.”

Utopia Theatre is a charitable organisation which aims to empower and engage African communities, support emerging artists and inspire the next generation.

It is a National Portfolio Organisation and receives grant funding from Arts Council England. It is also supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Sheffield City Council.

Utopia Theatre remains a resident theatre company for Sheffield Theatres and will maintain its base at The Crucible.