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Old Diorama Arts Centre and partners welcome local artists to HS2 space: Drummond Street Artists and the Neighbourhood Makeshop - A Meanwhile Use Project on the HS2 Euston site
Old Diorama Arts Centre and partners welcome local artists to HS2 space: Drummond Street Artists and the Neighbourhood Makeshop - A Meanwhile Use Project on the HS2 Euston site

Old Diorama Arts Centre and partners welcome local artists to HS2 space

  • The Neighbourhood Makeshop is on Starcross Street at the Old Maria Fidelis School
  • The HS2 space is being given back to the community for temporary use

Local Camden charity, Old Diorama Arts Centre (ODAC), has taken up residence at the Annex at the old Maria Fidelis School on Starcross Street. While plans for a HS2 terminus at Euston are being redeveloped, land acquired for the new high speed station is being temporarily repurposed and being turned into spaces for the local community.

ODAC will be using the space to deliver their ‘Neighbourhood Makeshop’ project in partnership with Camden People’s Theatre (CPT), with support from Community Champions Regent’s Park (managed by Fitzrovia Youth in Action) and Hospcotch. The building will be used as a flexible space for hands-on community and artistic making, as well as providing space for meetings and projects.

Using the Annex as a ‘messy creative space’, it complement’s ODAC's main premises, and other arts and community infrastructure in the area, housing projects spanning theatre, performance, visual art, woodwork, crafts, DIY and more.  

With a vision to catalyse artistic creation and collaboration to transform society and city, ODAC has already begun to make good use of the space. At the end of April, the first session was held with the Drummond Street Artists running a two-hour workshop for local artists affected by homelessness, which continues weekly. CPT is also already activating the space as in-kind support for early career artists, making new work for and by the people of Camden.

The space will also become a ‘Tool Library’ for residents and local artists, giving them access to and storage for DIY, craft and painting equipment. The programme, responding to local residents' requests, is designed to nurture everyday creativity and provide a new, free and accessible resource that encourages repair and reuse.

The Tool Library project has been made possible by £16,000 of funding provided through the Euston Meanwhile Use Fund independently administered by Groundwork UK.

Daniel Pitt, Creative Director of Old Diorama Arts Centre said:

“Taking on the management of the Maria Fidelis Annex marks a next step for ODAC in both the range of creative practices we can properly enable, and another step in the ways that we respond to and collaborate with local residents to develop our programmes. We're delighted to collaborate with our Drummond Street neighbours Camden People's Theatre on this, serving our shared communities and pooling resources. This 'slightly-less loved' space is exactly what we need to be able to offer more opportunities for creativity in the ward.

“Walking through ODAC's main centre doors, you're walking through the words 'create' and 'community' - we believe that creating things together, creates community - and with this new Neighbourhood Makeshop that making things together can make the community better!”

Nick Jones, Project Client for Euston at HS2 Ltd, said:

“While work on new arrangements for the HS2 terminus station at Euston are developing, it is great that we are able to support the local community and open parts of the HS2 site footprint for their use.

“The use of the Annex by Old Diorama Arts Centre will bring a vibrant presence to the site.”

Sessions and information about the Annex will be available on ODAC’s website. ODAC are also recruiting for a Workshop Facilitator to lead the development of the Tool Library and deliver the creative sessions with the community.

HS2, through its Station construction partner, Mace Dragados joint venture (MDJV), has acquired the Old Maria Fidelis School under a 10 year lease agreement. The ground floor will become a community hub, where people can find out more about the changes that will be happening at Euston from all the partners involved.

HS2 has been working with the Euston Partnership and local community to develop ideas for meanwhile use of HS2 spaces. This is the second space in Camden which has been repurposed for the local community – the first being a green space on Hampstead Road. More spaces are due to be open for community use soon.

Following the government’s Network North announcement in October, alternative funding arrangements for the delivery of Euston station are being considered. However, work is continuing with the preparations and design of the railway between Old Oak Common and Euston.

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