The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) is the latest resident artistic company revealed at a new cultural quarter, Woolwich Works.
Woolwich Works is a landmark, £31.59million restoration of historical industrial buildings on the Royal Arsenal. The project led by the Royal Borough of Greenwich is set to become London’s new cultural quarter for the arts. Woolwich Works will be home to the large-scale concert venue, rehearsal and studio spaces. It will offer music, theatre, dance, spoken word, comedy, exhibitions and food and drink for London and beyond. It will also be home to several notable performing arts companies.
Founded in 1965, NYJO has grown from a jazz orchestra of young musicians to a multi-faceted organisation that seeks to both improve jazz education nationally, and nurture the talent of aspiring musicians at the start of their careers.
Set to open in Spring 2021, Woolwich Works will be a space for its community, with resident offers and community schemes announced later this year.
They will join world-renowned theatre company Punchdrunk, Europe’s first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra Chineke! Orchestra, as well as Greenwich-based dance company Luca Silvestrini’s Protein and the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair.
Woolwich Works will become NYJO’s first permanent home, but for Roger Wilson, Head of Professional Development, the area is a very familiar one: “I grew up in Woolwich back in the day when the area brought with it a lot of challenges. I’m under no illusion that many of these challenges are still present today and I want NYJO and Woolwich Works to provide meaningful opportunities for the local community. Woolwich is coming into the national focus and I’m really looking forward to seeing the area become the hub of arts activity. It’s very exciting to be back!”
All of Woolwich Work’s artists in residence will work with the local community on several projects once the district launches. NYJO will be working with the community to develop young people’s musical and social skills; including a ‘creative jazz group’ offering young people in the area. An opportunity to gain their first experience of performing with an ensemble. All of Woolwich Work’s artists in residence will work with the local community on many projects once the district launches.
Claire Furlong, Head of Learning & Participation at NYJO adds, “NYJO aims to become a valuable member of Woolwich’s vibrant creative community, and create musical experiences we hope will resonate with people locally, nationally and internationally.”
Commenting on the news, Valerie Vaughan-Dick, Woolwich Works’ Chair, says: ‘A partnership between Woolwich Works and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra is an exciting prospect for us to be able to support young musicians. We are honoured to be the new home for the next generation of jazz artists’.
Woolwich Works is on the historic Royal Arsenal; which over the past 300 years has housed a firework factory, a theatre and the Royal Artillery Band. Woolwich Works will see five Grade II and Grade II* listed, industrial buildings on the site transformed into creative spaces. A hub for the local community and a cultural destination for the capital.
The new district will include:
- An impressive 1200 seated or 1800 standing performance venue
- An external courtyard for performances
- Five studios, for performances and rehearsals spaces
- Cafe and bar spaces for community groups to use and hire, for example; weddings, parties, conferences and events
Woolwich Works is actively working to create a diverse range of opportunities. To be accessible to those that may not benefit from them. The project will be working with the local community and schools to create jobs in the area with routes into creative industries.