Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Photo John Knowles

The Observer Building Photo John Knowles

New OB Collective

Dawn Dublin and Erika Holland have left The Observer Building (OB)… and the reins have now been handed over to The OB Collective. Catching sight of posters around town, the team appear to have lots of  inspiring creative ideas – and have been working hard to transform the space, making their vision a reality. Zelly Restorick asks John Knowles about the plans to make The OB a hub for community theatre, cinema and arts. 

Tell us about what’s happened to the OB lately?

After the departure of Dawn and Erika, the new OB Collective set ourselves the challenge of changing the main space around and making a new purpose built theatre/cinema. It was one hell of a task, but we did it. New community art on the walls and in the air, new seating areas, a new huge bar. In the theatre, fantastic cinema style seats, lights and PA with theatre wings and heaters! First show went down a storm and we have theatre planned for every month to follow, including three weekends of pre-Edinburgh shows.

What’s planned for the OB?
The building or the Collective? I’ll keep out of the OB question as a whole, as I am part of the collective not a developer. We are looking to be the hub for community theatre, cinema and arts. We are setting up a library/ meeting room for community dialogues and a space to meet and share ideas. We want to be the place you think of when you think communality and the arts. Most of the theatre I am looking at is issue based, so will have a connection to the wider community – and we also have lots of comedy and music coming up as well as cabaret, puppetry and poetry. And a Saturday Flea Market. Overall we are about place and people.

Can people book the spaces to use for their own creative ventures?
Yes they can. In essence, the whole space is available for events and we have already put on a charity comedy night and are working with the Trades Union Council on a music night. Yes, there may be charges for some users, but lower than anywhere in Hastings or St Leonards. We have loads of interesting spaces and we want to work with the community.

How much of the building is open to the public?
At the moment two floors, but they are BIG floors.

Yes we have an access ramp and the main floor / theatre is all on one level.

Do you need people to get involved?
People are already involved! But yes, we have a monthly new theatre writing event called ‘First Heard’ which is a chance to hear new writing by a local writer performed by professional actors. And we are starting a new theatre group / workshop. We are also on the look out for new shows, so talk to us! We already have people in, rehearsing new productions and other companies talking to us about large scale events for the whole theatre. The cinema has plans to make films and all of the team are up for idea.

This is a ‘try to say yes’ group of people – so come along and talk to us.

The Observer Building, 53 Cambridge Road, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1DT. Email for theatre: Tel: 07813 03 55 14

Check out the website for details of the workshops, exhibitions, theatre performances and everything that’s happening:  Observer Building Hastings

Facebook: The Observer Building 

Posted 14:44 Wednesday, Apr 13, 2016 In: Community Arts

1 Comment

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  1. Barney

    No use evading the question ‘what is planned for the OB’ – there is a planning application which aroused many objections: what is the latest position regarding this application?

    Comment by Barney — Saturday, Apr 16, 2016 @ 10:41

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