Minister of State for Digital and Culture Visits Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Today, on Monday 13 March we were delighted to welcome Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, to Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

Matt Hancock was appointed Minister of State responsible for digital and culture policy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on 15 July 2016. 

The DCMS protects and promotes Britain’s cultural and artistic heritage, helping businesses and communities to grow by investing in innovation and highlighting Britain as a fantastic place to visit.

Following a tour of the independent Guildford Theatre, Matt was invited to engage in a lively discussion with local businesses about their digital and cultural work: he was joined by Peter Gordon from Eagle Radio, Nick White from the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Kainne Clements from the Academy of Contemporary Music, Matt Pinches from Guildford Shakespeare Company and Kara Wescombe Blackman from Watts Gallery.

Local arts organisations were able to talk to the Minister about their own specific cultural offering, as well as the difficulties faced within the arts industry and how they work together to try to enhance the provision of the arts for Guildford Borough.

Guildford Shakespeare Company co-founder and producer Matt Pinches said: "This was a wonderful opportunity to meet with the Minister to promote not only the intrinsic value that arts organisations bring to the Guildford area, its residents and economy, but also to discuss some of the challenges faced in delivering cultural well-being in this region."

Perdita Hunt, director of Watts Gallery – Artist’s Village, said: “We were delighted to be invited to meet with the Minister to discuss some of the powerful arts and cultural projects taking place in Guildford and the social, economic and educational benefits these bring, particularly in terms of education, outreach and employment.  It was an opportunity to flag the potential of Guildford’s creative industries and cultural influence, and to discuss Watts Gallery Trust’s contribution through its current programme of restoration and bicentenary projects including a re-casting of Physical Energy, Watts’s monumental sculpture which will be cast in Bronze and sited on the Watts estate, visible from the A3.”

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre director James Barber said: “We were all delighted that the Minister found time to come and visit us at the Yvonne Arnaud this morning.  It was a great opportunity to exchange views and ideas with the Minister, and our friends from Eagle Radio, ACM, GSC and Watts Gallery.”

After the Minister’s visit to the Theatre, he joined the team at Eagle Radio for a tour of their studios, before heading to visit the University of Surrey.


Left to right:

Matt Pinches, Guildford Shakespeare Company

Nick White, Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture

Kara Wescombe Blackman, Watts Gallery

Jamie Smith, Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Kainne Clements, Academy of Contemporary Music

Peter Gordon, Eagle Radio