Formerly known as ‘Forest Arts Centre’, the venue in Walsall has enjoyed growing success since the launch of its Arena with names such as Chris Ramsey, Jenny Eclair and Fairport Convention gracing their stage. The team behind what is now Walsall Arena and Arts Centre felt the time was right for a reanalysis of their identity.
With a variety of performance spaces ranging from a capacity of 40 to a capacity of 650, it was felt that ‘Forest Arts Centre’ was not an accurate insight into the offer and ability that the venue boasts. From comedy, music and pantomime and local rehearsal spaces and dance shows, the building successfully brings together the best of arts and entertainment, all under one roof.
Whilst the Arts Centre aspect of the venue continues to thrive, the Arena is proving to be a powerful force in its own right, which the new name rightfully pays respect to. As well as live music, it is becoming a hub for comedy in the West Midlands. Upcoming shows include Milton Jones, Ed Byrne and Henning Wehn, and audiences are beginning to look to the arena for bookings of this nature. In addition to a variety of music tribute shows including The UK Monsters of Rock Show and Arrival – The Hits of Abba, the venue’s annual pantomime has also been moved into the arena meaning more seats and more shows for more people to enjoy, a transition which proved to be very successful last year.
Programming Manager Simon Pugh explains: “We’re really excited about the name change, we feel that ‘Walsall Arena and Arts Centre’ provides a more accurate picture of everything we do here. There really is so much going on under one roof, the arts centre events are still a vital part of our offer, but we’re pleased to be able to acknowledge the arena in this way”.
This is not a new beginning but a continuation of growing success, as exciting shows continue to make their way to Walsall, the Walsall Arena and Arts Centre strengthens its role as a key venue in the area. The name is clear both in terms of ability and geography and marks a significant moment in the history both the venue itself and Walsall arts and entertainment.