Luton's Hat Factory Arts Centre reopens on June 3 with a summer programme aimed at reviving live performance

Theatre, comedy, music and family events will all feature

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 5:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 5:38 pm

The Hat Factory Arts Centre in Luton will reopen on Thursday, June 3 as it begins a summer programme focused on live performance.

With live entertainment being the area of the arts that was the most effected by the pandemic, The Culture Trust is looking forward to a revival as Covid restrictions are relaxed in line with the Government's roadmap out of lockdown.

Marie Kirbyshaw, chief executive of The Culture Trust, Luton, said: "Social distancing all but brought to an end live performance during the lockdown, so we have put an emphasis on this for our summer programme, with theatre, comedy, music and family events.

The Hat Factory Arts Centre
The Hat Factory Arts Centre

"And we are, of course, delighted that we can now open all our venues, the wonderful gardens at Stockwood Discovery Centre and all its other attractions, and Wardown House, which attracted more than 80,000 visitors last year. As always, both can be visited free of charge."

Highlights of the Hat Factory programme include:

I Wish My Brother George Was Here (25 June): A polemic theatre performance sharing the stories of those affected by the tragic murder of George Floyd.

Windrush Delights (19 June): Teletubby turned comedian, John Simmit will host the evening, taking the audience on a journey through the ages of music inspired by the Windrush Generation whilst they dine on a sumptuous 3 course dinner.

Polymer Clay Jewellery (12 June): Jewellery making workshop with award-winning polymer clay artist Yasmin Ali

Full list of events can be found here.

While Culture Trust, Luton, receives financial support from the local council, it is a charity that seeks to support itself through box office sales and donations from visitors and the local community.

Wardown House Museum & Gallery will be re-opening on July 12. Formerly the home of the Scargill family, then a World War I military hospital, the house is now a museum which transports visitors back to Victorian times. The Morning Room art gallery displays a changing exhibition programme throughout the year. Visitors can also enjoy the café for coffee, tea and cakes.

Stockwood Discovery Centre has been open since May and invites visitors to explore the breathtaking gardens, featuring sculptures by Ian Hamilton Finlay, along with a WWII air raid shelter and a garden café. The centre is also home to a vibrant museum which displays the largest carriage collection in Europe.

In the summertime, Stockwood will stage an exhibition on lace. International artists Choi and Shine have designed two lace trees to be installed at the centre. The inspiration for the design has come from Wardown House Museum’s very own lace collection with the lace panels crocheted by local volunteers to form part of the installation on display to the public.

A vital part of The Culture Trust, Luton’s remit is the restoration of the town’s historic Hat District. In April, it unveiled the careful heritage restoration and refurbishment of the oldest former Hat Factory, which was completed after four years and with the investment of £2.4m.

Hat Works is part of the Hat District heritage regeneration project led by The Culture Trust to reanimate and reuse historic hat factories and transform them into inspiring and much needed creative workspace.

Hat Works follows the completion of Hat House and the refurbishment of the Hat Factory Arts Centre led by the Trust in 2019.