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A History Of Norden Farm Centre For The Arts
Norden Farm is built on the site of an old Dairy Farm. The site includes two original, listed buildings; a Georgian Farmhouse and 18th Century Long Barn. The plan to have an arts centre in Maidenhead had been a long held dream. Lobbying for such a space had begun in the 1970's when a strong demand for an arts centre for Maidenhead began to emerge. Maidenhead Arts was set up in 1978 as an umbrella organisation of local arts groups committed to this vision.
The site had been received by the RBWM Council as planning gain for housing development on the farmland in 1992, and the first Norden Farm Board raised funds from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts to develop the buildings and build a small scale theatre (where the current studio lives today) starting work in 1994. Norden Farm Centre Trust applied to the Arts Council for lottery funding to complete Norden Farm.
Following an intensive and detailed design and public consultation phase, planning approval was granted in September 1997. The Arts Council carried out a full assessment during autumn 1997, prior to an announcement of support and approval for the finished scheme with a Lottery award of £5,295,000 in January 1998. The assessment changed the original vision for Norden Farm. In order to receive lottery funds, the design needed to change to a much larger arts centre plan that would serve the wider community and be able to present a larger range of professional touring work. This meant that a new theatre, now known as The Courtyard, with a 280 capacity, joined The Studio theatre, with a 100 capacity, together with other spaces.
The final design stage of the project was completed in late 1998 and Norden Farm Centre for the Arts finally opened its doors to the public on the 17 September 2000 with Director, David Hill at the helm. Annabel Turpin took over in 2003, followed by the current custodian, Jane Corry.
Today, Norden Farm presents a performance and participation programme of film, theatre, music, visual arts, comedy and classes. It is also a venue for conferences, seminars, meetings and social functions.