A POPULAR community arts centre is gearing up to reopen its curtains with a line-up of performances and events and it is calling on the public to help design the new programme.

The Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot is ‘delighted’ to announce that it will begin opening to the public this month.

The centre’s café bar Nourish will be the first part of the centre to reopen on 21 June in what the centre calls a ‘light, open and welcoming space for all the family to enjoy’.

The cafe will be offering a brand-new menu of locally sourced baked goods from Barefoot Bakery in Oxford and coffee from an independent roaster in Witney.

South Oxfordshire District Council aims to reopen the centre fully on September 7.

The arts centre, owned and run by the district council, has been closed to the public since March 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has been central to the council’s efforts to provide direct support to the most vulnerable members of communities across South Oxfordshire and the Vale.

The council say that he need for that work is easing off now, so the district council has begun making plans to open the arts centre back up to the public.

Maggie Filipova-Rivers South Oxfordshire District Council Cabinet member for community wellbeing said: “We’re very excited to begin the process of reopening Cornerstone for the community to enjoy once again.

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“The centre has played a vital role in supporting that community during the pandemic, and I hope lots of people will come down to enjoy the café later this month.

“We’re also excited about getting a new programme of performances and events up and running for the full re-opening in September, and we’d love to hear people’s ideas for things they’d like us to put on.”

The arts centre first opened in 2008, since it has showcased live performances, participatory activities, exhibitions and outreach work.

The Didcot centre has a 220 seat auditorium, café bar, gallery and four studios used for dance and arts activities, as well as meetings.

In the coming months Cornerstone will release a line-up of shows, concerts and events in its theatre, along with plans for its gallery, and returning classes for all ages.

However, the district council is also calling on everyone who has used the centre in the past, and those that haven’t, to help plan an exciting new programme for the September re-opening this year.

A public survey has been launched inviting the community to put forward their thoughts on what kind of events they would like to see at the Cornerstone Arts Centre and how they would like to use the centre in the future.

Shows such as the musical theatre production Made in Dagenham, pantomimes and educational science events for children have been performed and displayed at the community arts centre over the years.

To have your say and contribute to the Cornerstone Arts Centre post September line-up for 2021 visit: survey.southandvale.gov.uk/s/CornerstoneArtsCentreSurvey.