My first encounter with Jacksons Lane as an art centre in Highgate, North London, goes back to 2010 when I joined a flamenco dance class there, taught by the beautiful Carmela Romero. Although the teacher, her class and the classmates were all lovely, the venue at that time, if I can be honest, wasn’t particularly impressive - being an old converted church which had been used as a local community hub since the 1970's, the building had a sort of air of bygones…
If you’ve known Jacksons Lane as what it used to be, you’ll definitely be amazed at its new look, maybe not so much about its outside but surely on the inside. While the refurbishment hasn't been completed, they’re officially reopened with an airy, spacious, vibrant and rejuvenating atmosphere. That’s the new Jacksons Lane for us.
I had a chance to revisit this reborn art centre on 2nd April as they had an official reopening weekend. They offered site tours (guided by the artistic director Mr Adrian Berry), circus demos, a photo exhibition as well as some performing arts workshops. The entire building is now benefited from contemporary redesign and natural light through the beautiful church windows.
Perhaps the most impressive room is the new Studio 1. Making a full use of the arched, high vaulted ceiling, the huge space affords a luxurious feel and caters for different kinds of parties, wedding receptions, show rehearsals and photoshoots. It was recently used for rehearsals of famous shows such as BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and West End musicals. I was also charmed with the renovated theatre. Although the size isn’t massive, it‘s equipped with efficiency to host a variety of entertaining shows by professionals and aspiring artists alike.
The renovation so far was made possible by national and local funding, but they need more financial support in order to be fully equipped as a cultural centre where children and adults can learn together and communicate through arts. You can help by donating, buying tickets to their events, or even putting your name marked on a theatre seat. The good old Jacksons Lane has gained the new body to thrive as a local arts hub, as a home for circus performers and as a creative venue for various performing arts. If you are able to travel to North London, visit the rejuvenated Jacksons Lane and see from your own eyes how promising and inspiring they now look.
For some images of the inside the building as well as donations, visit their website: