A Pocket History of The Cut

March 1998
A newly formed artists’ co-operative called PanTeknikon began to organise exciting one-off exhibitions & performances in the derelict old maltings on New Cut. Some of these events involved exciting performances by the multi-talented Mouth Youth Theatre. Audiences came despite having to brave extremely primitive conditions!

May 1999
PanTeknikon agreed to buy the old New Cut maltings over a period of time from Micropress.

November 1999
A group, soon to be known as New Cut Arts (NCA), met to discuss the possibility of setting up a charitable trust to fundraise for the development of the building.

March 2000
The NCA group put in an application to the Charity Commission for charitable status.

November 2000
Charitable status was granted to NCA & fundraising started. As a result of a mailshot local people donated over £4,000 to get the project started.

December 2000
The ‘500’ Club was started to provide regular income through a local lottery.

February 2001
A mixture of EEDA and English Heritage funding, as well as considerable volunteer work in kind, enabled the leaking flat roof to be replaced, the old Victorian windows to be secured and basic welfare facilities to be installed.

June 2001
Ownership of the building passed from PanTeknikon to NCA.

Autumn 2001
Four major applications for funding were developed and sent off.

January/February 2002
Although three of the applications were successful, funding could not be accessed because of the failure of Arts Council East to back our vision. This was the lowest point in the history of the project.

A dynamic series of events were staged creating income for further developments at the New Cut maltings. Audiences still had to endure cold and sometimes damp conditions but they kept coming back for more!

October 2002
The 1st Halesworth Arts Festival was successfully inaugurated by NCA.

December 2002
Major funding was successfully secured from EEDA and Europe. Other funders included the Suffolk Environmental Trust, Suffolk County Council and Waveney District Council.

The first half of this year was entirely taken up with capital building work mainly carried out by local firms and a core of committed NCA supporters.

18th October 2003
The late great Sir Alan Bates officially inaugurated the old maltings complex as ‘The Cut’ at the opening night of the 2nd Halesworth Arts Festival. It was a night to remember for all of us!

October 2003
The 2nd Halesworth Arts Festival was successfully staged by a new and independent team of volunteers.

Autumn 2003
A successful bid was made to Suffolk County Council for further funding to complete the refurbishment of the building. Newly refurbished basement office space was let to The Poetry Trust and a separately constituted Halesworth Arts Festival group.

Spring 2004
The first full quarterly programme of arts activity was produced. The Amplifier Project was started for young people interested in creating their own music.

October 2006
At the opening of the 5th Halesworth Arts Festival Ben Bates, Sir Alan’s son, inaugurated The Cut’s theatre as the Alan Bates Theatre.

October - December 2006
Major funding was successfully secured from Europe, the Suffolk Development Agency and Suffolk County Council in order to develop the top two floors of the building as ‘Centerprise’ - ten business units to provide a vital non-arts income stream for the future security of The Cut.

January 2006 – August 2007
Capital building work was carried out by local firms in order to create the Centerprise units. As each one was completed they were leased immediately to mainly arts businesses, thereby creating a highly significant ‘arts cluster’ based round the existing open access public arts space of The Cut.

April 2007
The first HighTide Festival is held at The Cut – an innovative new national festival of professional young performing talent – writing, directing, staging & acting.

October 2007
NCA receives the 2007 East of England ‘Community Spirit Award’ from the East of England Development Agency, the East of England Regional Assembly and Government Office East, in recognition of The Cut’s enormous achievement.

Spring 2008
The Cut becomes a centre of excellence for the newly established national Arts Awards.

January 2011
Following several successful seasons of hosting the annual HighTide Festival, HighTide itself opens a permanent office at The Cut.

March 2011
NCA launches the first Halesworth Jazz & Beer Festival.

July 2012
Following a successful funding bid - involving Suffolk County Council, Waveney RDPE and Viridor Credits - NCA formally opens a new Media Centre at The Cut. This facility is intended as an open access resource providing education, training and experimentation in all the creative media technologies – website design, film-making, audio recording, social media and even creative computer programming using Arduino technology. The Media Centre enables the local communities of Halesworth and its surrounding rural hinterland to have access to the very latest digital technologies more normally associated with metropolitan environments.

August 2012
NCA takes on the task of purchasing the 'east wing' of The Cut building – previously owned by Micropress. Initially it is our intention to use it as an income generator in the manner of the already well-established Centerprise units, but there are also exciting thoughts for potential integration of parts of this building into our public arts space over the longer term.

The Cut Today
The Cut is now open six days a week, employs a full-time equivalent of 6 staff and has a turnover of £230,000pa. In addition the Centerprise units employ a further 15 people. Every week around 900 people - young (eg. Amplifier & the Youth Performing Arts Academy) and old, vulnerable (eg. Cut Arts Club) and volunteer - pass through our doors in the form of audiences and participants. The Cut has become truly a hub for creative entertainment, education and enterprise.