BUILDING works have completed – on time and on budget – on the £2.5million Daimler Powerhouse Creation Centre in Coventry.
Aerialists Luka Owen and Daniel Connor performed with a Fork Lift Truck, in a nod to Daimler’s engineering past, as the key to the building was handed over to Imagineer – the city-based live events production company.
Roger Medwell, chair of Imagineer’s Board, said: “The Wigley Group have done a fantastic job of preserving and maintaining the heritage of the building whilst also creating a modern and accessible space that will support not just Imagineer and the resident companies but the outdoor arts sector as a whole.
“Daimler Powerhouse will be a space for future generations of artists and creative engineers and it is wonderful to see the building coming to life again.”
The Daimler Building not only saw the manufacture of the first bicycle, but was home to the UK’s first car factory to the creation of the first Fork Lift Truck and as a specialist engine factory for high-performance engines powering four F1 World Champions.
Led by Imagineer, the purpose-built creative hub will focus primarily on outdoor arts and provide much needed and dedicated fully accessible spaces for the production of outdoor and site-specific work becoming part of a network of growing national and international creation centres.
It will open to the public in August 2021 as part of Coventry’s UK City of Culture Programme with a weekend of special events, performances and opportunities to visit the building.
As well as providing a home for Imagineer’s innovative education and training programmes aimed at young people and people with disabilities, The Daimler Powerhouse will also be home to five resident companies Imagineer, Highly Sprung, Media Mania, Open Theatre and Talking Birds.
Now building works are complete, the inside of the creation centre will receive a facelift over the coming months. £150,000 from Arts Council England will ensure state-of-the-art infrastructure is embedded within the building including a sound recording studio and edit suite, as well as a newly installed Sprung Dance Floor and Vertical Dance Wall.
Funded by £1.9 million from the Cultural Capital Investment Fund resourced from Coventry City Council and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal.
Work has been undertaken by The Wigley Group, which owns Sandy Lane Business Park and contributed an additional £350,000 as well as agreeing a highly-discounted 20-year lease on Daimler Powerhouse, as well as a neighbouring building, as part of the redevelopment.
Additional funding has been raised from The Foyle Foundation, Medwell-Hyde, The Garfield Weston Foundation and The May 29th 1961 Charitable Trust.
James Davies, MD of The Wigley Group, said: “Imagineer has been based at our Sandy Lane Business Park for many years and we have been working with them on plans for a creative hub for a considerable amount of time, so it’s great to see it almost ready to open.
“This has been a joint project with a number of partners to create a cultural legacy on a site of great historical importance to the city and we look forward to seeing how it can develop the talents of existing and emerging artists and creatives well beyond this important year for Coventry as UK City of Culture.”
Coventry City of Culture Trust’s creative director Chenine Bhathena, said: “This new creation centre in the heart of the Coventry Canal’s creative corridor, will be a laboratory for new artistic innovation.
“It will support the city’s growing arts economy in the city, creating a new destination that will not only bring audiences, but will attract a wide range of talent from across the UK and farther afield to come and create work in Coventry and collaborate with our amazing creatives.
“I can’t wait to see this new centre spring to life, and am excited to be working with all of the Powerhouse’s artistic residents to create new shows within our UK City of Culture year.”
To find out more about the Daimler Powerhouse and to be the first to know about opening plans in August on imagineer-productions and follow: Twitter – @ImagineerUK, Facebook- @imagineerprod and Instagram – @imagineeruk.