Outgoing manager of Letchworth Arts Centre proud to have helped develop town’s thirst for culture

Maria Iredale has left Letchworth Arts Centre after eight years at the helm.

Maria Iredale has left Letchworth Arts Centre after eight years at the helm. - Credit: Archant

The outgoing manager of Letchworth Arts Centre is proud to have played a role in developing the town’s thirst for the arts.

After eight years of overseeing the strides made by The Arcade’s cultural hub, Maria Iredale has moved on from her role as arts centre manager.

This year alone has seen the 47-year-old meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace to mark the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death, but it has not always been such glamour at the arts centre.

Maria, who lives in Willian, said: “When I became manager there were about 2,000 people visiting the arts centre per year, which we managed to get up to 20,000 in the first three years.

“Back in 2007 it looked like some sort of private club, but it has always been somewhere with a great vibe.

“I am proud we have managed to change a few people’s outlook on art through the growth of the centre over the years.

“I’ve had an absolute blast since I came to Letchworth. I have had an amazing time.

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“I hope that the plans to make the town a centre for the arts are achieved, but I have left the centre in a good place.”

Maria is particularly proud of the arts centre’s partnership with Boston theatre company TC Squared, which saw an American drama group working with students in the town during last month’s Letchworth Festival.

“It was brilliant to make that happen and to have American students in the world’s first garden city – although they called it the garden town,” she added.

“All the school projects we have been involved in have been fantastic – it has given some kids who were on the outside a purpose by having their work exhibited.”

The Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation took over the running of the centre in August last year and hope to begin refurbishment work in September – which would see the gallery and cafe given a facelift.

Foundation chief executive John Lewis said: “We would like to thank Maria for all her hard work over many years and wish her well in her future endeavours.”

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