PLANS to mark a decade since the opening of FACT will focus on the creative centre’s role in developing a thriving arts scene across Liverpool.
As the Wood Street venue gears up for its 10th anniversary, chief executive Mike Stubbs and newly-appointed executive director Iona Horsburgh spoke out about FACT’s links with the community, its international reputation and Liverpool’s unique cultural landscape.
Beginning as the brainchild of a collective of artists working from the nearby Bluecoat in the late 1990s, the £10m centre emerged in the Ropewalks area amid questions over the wisdom of spending public money on the project.
A decade on, its directors issued a stout defence of the city council’s investment, and said it should be protected from cuts.
Mrs Horsburgh, who rejoined FACT at the end of last year having been financial director between 1999 and 2005, said: “We went from eight people in the Bluecoat with a little office and a dream to suddenly having a big building.
“It was a challenge but testament to the vision of the people who supported us.”
FACT now employs 43 people, not including staff from the Picturehouse cinema accommodated in the building.
Mr Stubbs said: “Providing employment in Liverpool is significant, but it is about more than that.
“We are an international centre, but that is irrelevant if we are not engaged with local people.”
FACT is involved with the Veterans in Practice scheme to encourage former armed forces members to explore creativity and tackle post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as co-ordinating businesses and residents of the Ropewalks area.