On Thursday 9th June the doors to the Barn Theatre and Museum opened for the very first time with a launch ceremony for press, local schools and organisations, and ambassadors.
Arriving guests were treated to singing from Chantry Community Primary School choir, and a recital by Piper Wren of Hastings Young Writers who recited a specially commissioned poem to celebrate the opening.
Chris Garlick, company manager for Cosprop (John Bright’s London costume house), gave a welcome speech in the Barn Theatre – our new state of the art theatre, purpose designed and built for the Foundation. Messages of support were played on giant screen from some of the Foundation’s ambassadors including Dame Judi Dench, Hugh Bonneville, Stephen Fry, and Richard E Grant. Those present at the launch included actors Jim Broadbent, Jeremy Irons, Anna Chancellor, Sinead Cusack and from BBC Antiques Road Show, Hilary Kay, who is a lecturer, author and a well-known expert in toys and costumes.
Our benefactor John Bright was interviewed live on stage by Claire Smith, senior curator special collections British Film Institute. Polly Risbridger, CEO of The Bright Foundation spoke about the vision for the future - for all children and young people to have their imaginations sparked and their wellbeing nurtured through a quality cultural education, regardless of their background. The Bright Foundation’s programme includes school visits, summer schools, performance projects, cross-curricular learning, wellbeing retreats, volunteering, family festivals, skills training, and career support.
Chantry choir entertained the audience once more before a canape lunch and a tour of the museum where guests were able to see the extensive collection of toys, dolls’ houses, dolls, train sets, puppets, and theatre sets – some dating back from the 18th century.
You can see some of the press coverage here:
ITV - Jeremy Irons and Jim Broadbent among stars at launch of Oscar-winning costume designer's charity
The Independent - Bafta award-winning costume designer opens museum and theatre for young people
Hastings Independent - Hastings Launches a Bright World of Imagination