Moving Forward: Attenborough Arts Centre after 25

A pencil drawing of Attenborough Arts Centre before it was built next to a photo of it today.

One year ago today we begun our 25th anniversary celebrations at Attenborough Arts Centre. Established by Richard Attenborough, a lifelong champion of arts and social justice who campaigned to make culture accessible to everyone, the centre was opened with Diana, Princess of Wales, on 27 May 1997 as an institution for breaking down barriers to the arts.

A quarter-of-a-century on we continue with our mission, recognising the many prevailing systemic inequalities which prevent access to culture for so many people as we strive to open opportunities to creativity for the most underrepresented people in society.

To celebrate the occasion, each month we had an event linked to the 25th over a range of programmes. Join us to recap what we did every month for the past year:


The silhouettes of people in a darkly lit room talking to each other.


25th Anniversary Gathering

27 May 2022

A small get-together was hosted for our Attenborough community to thank them for all they have contributed to our centre over 25 years. We were joined by the University of Leicester President and Vice-Chancellor Nishan Canagarajah who gave an incredible speech alongside our Director Andrew Fletcher.


Michael Attenborough cutting cake with University of Leicester and Attenborough Arts Centre


An Evening with Michael Attenborough CBE

Thursday 9 June 2022, 6pm – 9pm

We spent an evening with Michael Attenborough, who helped us mark our 25th anniversary with a special event highlighting Attenborough Arts Centre’s history and the Attenborough family’s long-standing connection with the University.


Blue, yellow and pink squiggles surround the text saying 'Family Rave Festival 2022' on a light blue background.


Family Rave Festival 2022

Sunday 31 July 2022, 10am – 5pm

The Family Rave Crew took over the entire centre for a day full family festival. Families came dressed in full colour, shiny sequins and their best festival outfits. There were two family rave sessions, live music, street style performance, drop in art and craft activities, forest school activities, dance and yoga workshops, face painting and eco glitter station.


Two hands working with clay on a spinning wheel.


Creative Tutors Month

All of August 2022

Our creative tutors have been an integral part to Attenborough Arts Centre even before we had a building to call our own. This August, we celebrated their contributions to not only the arts but our communities.


A swirled circle with pink, purple and yellow, with 'POSE' written in the middle.


Gallery Lates: Pose

Friday 30 September 2022, 7pm – 11pm

Inspired by our exhibition ‘Black Garden Paintings’ by Bruce Mclean, the theme for this edition is ‘Pose‘, with live music, life drawing, dance, performances, film and more.


A picture of a cream giant tent in the left corner in a wooden room, and in the right corner is a painted upside-down zebra as part of an umbrella with leaves. In front of the umbrella is a women talking to a small goat person.


‘Anchorage’ and ‘Playing in Wonderland’ Exhibition Launch

Friday 28 October 2022, 5pm – 7pm

We were proud to be exhibiting Mohammad Barrangi’s ‘Playing in Wonderland’ and Letty McHugh’s ‘Anchorage’. All walks of people joined us for the launch, to experience the work for the first time.


The words 'Late Check-in' against a blue background, with layers of yellow in the shape of the words trailing into the top-right corner.


Check-In Festival 2022

Friday 18 – Saturday 19 November 2022

In Good Company’s annual festival with Attenborough Arts Centre was back! The line-up included shows, workshops, networking events and a Scratch Night, which made it perfect for people who were new to performance or those who had been in the sector for years.


A drawing of a young Asian girl in a blue and white stripped top holding a Roti. Above her is a giant roti glowing in a purple sky, with 'Roti Moon' above and below it.


Fishhouse Theatre and Upstairs at the Western presents Roti Moon

Monday 19 – Thursday 22 December 2022

“Diya thinks her roti is yuck! She’d rather eat pizza! Her grandad, Dada, tells her that his mother’s, mother’s, mother flipped her roti too high and it landed in the sky. That the moon is a roti! She’s heard that story a million times.”

The show was interactive with lots of sounds and actions and before it began, the children were given an introduction to the theatre including a physical and vocal warm up.


A poster for 'Next Gen Creatives' exhibition 'Stories of the Mind' which features a drawing of a medieval sun in pencil.


Stories Of The Mind: An Exhibition by Next Gen. Creatives

20 January – 1 February 2023, Gallery 2

Attenborough Arts Centre’s Next Gen. Creatives., a group of young people ages 16-25 who help shape the venue’s programme, presented an exhibition in response to Mohammad Barrangi’s ‘Playing in Wonderland’ exhibition. Their exhibition used mythology as a tool to express complex feelings, ideas, opinions and memories. This exhibition also featured work from children and young people from the Inclusive Youth Arts Programme, Leicester College students and local primary school children.


Leicester Comedy Festival logo.  Keith Haring inspired figures dancing on a red floor with a yellow sky. The characters are white and are dancing with speakers, rainbows, flowers and watering cans.


Leicester Comedy Festival 2023

9 February – 26 February 2023

Leicester Comedy Festival was back for its 30th year. We were taking part by hosting 23 must-see performances, with all the basis covered from hilarious shows, family entertainment and important discussions of the comedy sector today.

Spark Festival 2023

13 February – 19 February 2023

We were thrilled to again be part of the fantastic Spark Festival as they celebrated their 20th year, bringing incredible shows for families of all ages.


A rainbow coloured arch that is glowing against a black background.


Gallery Lates: Dream

3 March 2023, 8pm – 11pm

Inspired by our exhibition ‘Playing in Wonderland’ by Mohammad Barrangi, the theme for this edition was ‘Dream’ as we took audiences into a bright and colourful wonderland of endless possibilities.


Scattered pieces of paper across the page, showing pencil drawing of turtles, blue waves, and a women looking into a mirror.


Limbik Theatre presents All The Water In The World

22 – 23 April, 12pm – 8pm, One Show Every Hour

“Giselle is a little bit bored and a lot alone. So she records the sounds around her. They remind her of a place on the other side of the ocean. A place that evokes… Wait. She needs to tell someone about it, ideally a total stranger… Can she just call you? What could possibly go wrong right?”

All the Water in the World was a quirky, intimate, one-to-one performance on WhatsApp as part of our Summer Season 23. Using a combination of live calls, messaging, and 3D spatial audio, award-winning Limbik makes the everyday become extra-ordinary audiences listened and connected in a (perhaps) unusual way.


A collection of alter:late posters that are of brightly coloured, abstract shapes against brightly coloured backgrounds. They are surrounded by the title and date of the event.


Gallery Lates: altered:late

12 May 2023, 8pm – 11pm

We were joined after hours for a free immersive live art experience, presenting the best in local music, dance, performance and visual art in our gallery and cafe. Inspired by ‘altered’ by Tony Heaton, this edition explored art and ideas and looked at the themes of equality through artwork. Events for the evening included: Life Drawing Sessions, Food Truck Delights, Music, Dance Performances. Spoken Word and Comedy Performances, and Poetry.


Moving forward into the next 25 years we will continue to build opportunities for all by curating a range of artistic experiences for our communities. From our exhibitions and performances by the UK’s top artists, to our creative courses and learning opportunities – as a public-facing cultural venue at the heart of the University of Leicester, we will strive to be true Citizens of Change. Explore all we have to offer on our What’s On.

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