Praise for Burnley’s Art Facilities from Arts Council Chief

The boss of Britain’s leading arts organisation praised Burnley Mechanics for its innovative approach during a visit to the historic theatre.

Arts Council England’s chief executive Darren Henley toured the building and talked to staff about the theatre’s contribution to arts and culture, not only in the borough but across the North West.

Afterwards Gerard Vinton, chief executive of Burnley Leisure, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Mr Henley to the Mechanics.

“It gave us the opportunity to show him how the theatre is developing a wider arts and culture offer to both residents and visitors from across a wide area.

“The mechanics has been transformed in recent years to recognise the ever changing needs and interests of our customers. One example of this is the Mechanics At Home project.

“This is a two-year community focused project, which gives people the opportunity to work with professional artists at the Mechanics Theatre and in the community to create and make things and share skills.

“We were also very pleased to hear he him say he’s impressed by a high priority given to arts and culture in Burnley by the council and the leisure trust.”

Mr Henley was shown a short clip about the Mechanics At Home project that was put together by Burnley Leisure apprentices Matthew Robinson, Mia Laffy and Angus Allan.

Mr Henley, who is currently undertaking a national programme of direct engagement following his installation as CEO in April, was joined by Neil Harris, senior relationship manager at Arts Council England.

The visitors were given a tour around the building including the main auditorium and the basement studio, which is used to deliver for various community activities and projects.

Mr Henley also got an opportunity to take part in the collaborative drawing exercise and meet some the project participants including community groups, artists, Burnley Youth Theatre representatives and children from St Mary’s Primary School.

For more information about the project and how to get involved, please visit

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