Attenborough Arts Centre celebrates 19th birthday

Posted by pt91 at May 25, 2016 04:28 PM |
University of Leicester's arts centre marks anniversary on 27 May

Issued by Attenborough Arts on 23 May 2016

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre celebrates its 19th year on Friday 27 May. The centre is supported by the Attenborough Family in honour of Lord Richard Attenborough who was the original patron. Taking over from his father, our new patron Michael Attenborough said: “Every time I visit the Centre I become so excited to see how the programme has developed and grown. The whole place has such a fabulously friendly atmosphere. And the huge new gallery (recently opened by my uncle David) is a really exciting creative space - brimming with possibilities and available for everyone to enjoy.”

To mark its birthday the Attenborough Arts Centre team will celebrate with cake, balloons and party hats, decorating the building ready for a party.

We will reveal four new videos created by second year students studying on the Photography & Video BA Hons at De Montfort University, including a video of Sir David Attenborough officially opening our new gallery spaces in January 2016.

All visitors on Friday 27 May can take part in the celebration and receive a 19% discount on all ceramics, glass, jewellery, textiles, prints, sculpture, homeware, stationary, cards and gift wrap in our shop (excluding artwork in our new gallery spaces). We will have a giant card which visitors can write in to share their memories and to wish the centre a happy birthday and well wishes can be shared across social media on Twitter by searching for @attenboroughAC and Facebook ‘attenborougharts’ using #weare19.

Whilst you’re at the centre remember to pop into our new gallery spaces featuring 3 new exhibitions, including Small Print International, in partnership with Leicester Print Workshop, The Reliquary Project by artist Jo Dacombe and Idols and Monsters by artist Nick Mobbs. All exhibitions are free and we also offer sensory suitcases for children and families to access, which are jam packed with tactile and multisensory objects linked to the exhibition, including our touch guides. FREE Book at Front of House.

We are also excited to be part of The Spark Festival and have activities taking place every day in our theatre, studio spaces, children’s arts explorer's area and the Attenborough café is offering a special Spark children’s menu with free activity pack.

Michaela Butter, Attenborough Arts Centre’s director, commented: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate 19 years of working alongside some great partners and supportive funders to offer an inspirational range of high quality and unique performances, courses, workshops and exhibitions. We care about nurturing local talent and offering audiences, including disability-led organisations, the opportunity to enjoy or participate in our vibrant programme of activities.”

The centre was opened in 1997 by Sir Richard Attenborough and Princess Diana of Wales. Over 19 years the centre has created countless opportunities for everyone to take part in the arts and prides itself on being accessible and inclusive. Our brand new gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary British and international art. Doubling the size of our existing building, the new £1.5 million capital project makes Attenborough Arts Centre the largest contemporary art gallery in Leicester and one of the largest in the East Midlands area. The new gallery has been funded by Arts Council England, University of Leicester and over 1,000 public donations.

Attenborough Arts Centre’s work is inspired by Richard Attenborough, a world leading filmmaker, actor and lifelong patron of the arts. Richard Attenborough was an inspirational talent and pioneering thinker, our founding patron and a hands-on man who helped establishing our arts centre. Handing the patronage to his son Michael, we continue to follow Richard’s vision and continue his legacy striving to include everyone in great art, culture and learning.

To add to the celebrations we are delighted to announce that our Director, Michaela Butter, has just been awarded a Fellowship of the prestigious RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).

Michaela has said: “I am so excited to have been nominated and accepted as a Fellow of this incredible and historic institution that has been in existence for over 260 years. I feel particularly humble to know that past Fellows have included Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, Marie Curie and Charles Dickens!

Throughout my career I have been a passionate advocate for the role the Arts can play in enriching society and bringing about positive change. This philosophy is central to the mission of the RSA and I am really excited about the opportunities to engage in debate and action research with other Fellows globally.”

Three years ago Michaela was awarded a MBE for her services to the Arts in the East Midlands and is delighted to have received this latest peer group recognition of her work. Michaela has been a tireless champion for the arts supporting emerging talent and seeking new ways to increase access for disabled people to see and make art.


Notes to Editors:

Further details are available from Lucy Stevens at email Attenborough Arts Centre, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 7HA.

About Attenborough Arts Centre

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre prides itself on being accessible and inclusive. With 19 years of experience, the programme offers courses and workshops, contemporary art, performance and live art, theatre and comedy, live music and jazz, dance, activities for children and families, and more. It is proud to champion emerging talent and disability-led performance companies, supporting those starting their careers. Its outstanding access and inclusive work has been recognised, through multiple awards and grants from Arts Council England, British Council, BBC Children in Need, Leicester Shire Promotions and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Its audience has grown to 55,000 people over the last year.

Attenborough Arts Centre is part of the University of Leicester’s Division of External Relations. Its new exhibition programme will significantly contribute to the University’s corporate social responsibility, wider public engagement and strategic research goals. It will specifically explore issues of human identity and inter-cultural interactions, promote inter-discipline, attract high-calibre collaborators, and encourage new imaginative approaches that culminate in exhibition projects.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


The Fellowship is a global network of 27,000 people who support the RSA's mission to enrich society through ideas and action.

Fellows can be nominated by their peers but have to undergo a rigorous application process to ensure that they can demonstrate how they will add value to the RSA’s broader work.

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