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Trapeze artists and dance acts may use vacant gym space
5:30am Thursday 26th June 2014 in News
THE vacant Maxwell Street gym could become a stepping stone towards a circus tent after the lease on Mike Buss’ gym was terminated.
Lee Williams, 33, has had an interest in the building for months and is now looking into the possibility of using the space to enable circus and dance acts to train.
He is hoping to begin talks with the landlord and gain some support from local performers who may not have a proper home.
Lee and his colleagues currently have to travel to Bristol to train due to the lack of local facilities.
“The problem in Swindon is that there are very few places where an artist of any kind can go to practice,” he said.
“There are places like the town hall and a few independent ballet schools, but they are often fully booked for their own activities.
“What I am thinking of would probably be more like The Island in Bristol, where they converted the old police station which was lying derelict.
“A group of artists just banded together and found that space to operate from.”
Lee says the old gym would be the perfect place to instal a static trapeze.
“We have to have a margin of safety where we take into account the weight of the rig and the performer and be sure it can hold that weight,” he said.
“The Maxwell Street building has the perfect height roof and a clear space underneath on the upper floor.
“I spoke to Mr Buss about the possibility of hiring out the space a few weeks ago.
“I only found the building when they had taken over the lease but asked him about hiring it out for a few hours a week.
“It would not take very long to get up and running, because the only thing we would need to do is the strength and load tests for health and safety.
“I was thinking the downstairs area could be used for a variety of groups, including drama and dance.
“There are quite a few small groups around Swindon who are wanting to train but do not have the proper facilities.
“One group I know of operate out of Lower Shaw Farm, so have no inside space.
“That is constraining the arts scene in Swindon. We need to use spaces like this to encourage arts and to put acts on to perform for people in Swindon.”
Lee has a background in dance and has only recently set his sights on circus performing.
“Years ago I worked for a London theatre, and when I was about 20 I discovered classical dance,” he said.
“I went to Circomedia in Bristol to learn static trapeze and different circus acts. I also started doing background stuff for international ballet in Manchester and Paris theatres.”
Anyone who wishes to contact Lee can call 07765 140487.
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