by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

With the assistance of our building contractors Willmott Dixon we’ve been running hard hat tours for the public and community groups for a year now. They’ve proved to be really popular with spaces quickly being snapped up and some people returning each month to keep a close eye on progress.

Behind the scenes over the last few weeks we’ve also had some other important visitors to The Box building and construction site.

Firstly, the BBC paid us a visit. They came to the site a couple of times in 2017 when he had our ground breaking ceremony and launched our new name. This time they came in to film an update piece highlighting the work that’s been done so far and some of our future plans for our galleries and artistic projects. Here’s a shot of our CEO Paul Brookes chatting to Arts Reporter Emma Ruminski in the old Museum foyer.

Filming with BBC Spotlight in the old Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery foyer

Secondly, we had a visit from Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England and former Director of Tate and Phil Gibby, South West Area Director for Arts Council England.

They were in Plymouth for a day to get a first-hand look at some of the exciting developments that are taking place in the city. As well as a visit to the Street Factory Studios they undertook a hard hat tour of The Box and got an update on the progress and plans for the project. They were joined on their visit by representatives from the Council as well as Mayflower 400, Plymouth Culture, the University of Plymouth and the BBC.

Here’s a shot of everyone on the viewing platform at the start of the tour.

Hard Hat Tour of The Box, Plymouth with Sir Nicholas Serota

Here’s our CEO Paul Brookes outlining our plans for St Luke’s Church.

Paul Brookes, CEO of The Box, Plymouth (left) with Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England

Here’s another image of our Head of Arts and Heritage Nicola Moyle explaining some of our plans to the group. They’re standing in what used to be the shop and cafe of the Museum and Art Gallery. This will become part of The Box’s ‘Port of Plymouth’ gallery.

A group of people in hard hats visit the construction site for The Box, Plymouth

Most recently we invited Emma Tatlow (standing in the centre of the image below), the National Visitor Project Manager for Mayflower 400, to come for a site tour. Emma is based in Lincoln but visits Plymouth regularly as the city’s plans for the 2020 commemorations continue. It was great to talk to her in more detail about what we’re doing and show her the gallery where our ‘Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy’ exhibition will be displayed.

Jo Clarke, Emma Tatlow and Paul Brookes in hard hats at The Box, Plymouth

Most people who come for a site tour are impressed by the scale of what we’re trying to achieve. Here’s what Emma posted on Twitter afterwards:

If you’re interested in attending one of our public hard hat tours there are some spaces still available on our Friday 25 May ones. You can book here. More dates for 2018 will be released soon.


Elsewhere, some other big news from behind the scenes is that since late December we’ve been busy pulling all the information for this year’s History Festival together – and the programme is now live!

Like previous years, the 2018 festival includes a huge variety of events from organisations, societies and individuals based across the city and beyond. The festival doesn’t have a huge budget or its own team so it’s an amazing achievement for everyone who makes it happen each year. To see what’s on offer visit the website.

History Festival 2018