|Axis Towers: my screenprint for a weekend of two tours.|
First, Southampton's long-talked-about new arts centre. While the complex will hold a few different arts organisations, the one on show was NST City, the Nuffield Theatre's new venue in the city centre, in addition to the copper-topped wonder remaining up at the university.
It's really a lot grander than I expected and, although it's not finished yet (we were in hard hats) I was impressed by the ambition. There are two theatre spaces, rehearsal spaces, a bar and café and lots of room for milling about. It's a full-sized regional theatre and genuinely exciting to see, in advance of its opening later this year.
The entire development, Studio 144, is up for an award (Daily Echo) and it's being talked about in lists of new developments in the art world (The Arts Newspaper).
Being on second and third floor level, overlooking Guildhall Square, afforded views not seen since Tyrrell & Green closed, across to the side windows of the art gallery and council offices. I got that view in reverse the next day on a tour up the Civic Centre clock tower. These run one or two weekends most months and can be booked through Sea City Museum. I won't spoil it too much - there were all sorts of stories. It's spiral stairs from one level to the next, up to the inside of the clock and then up to the bells.
I've been looking at the clock tower all my life and I've drawn it many times, often trying to find new ways to represent the Civic Centre's many aspects in one image. Here's one, from a Christmas card design in 2013.
|My Southampton card design, with the Civic Centre on the right.|
Just a few pictures from the clock tower tour - you can go on a sunnier day and take better photos.