Restored Victorian warehouse in Stratford to become dance and music hub

The Talent House, at 3 Sugar House Lane,

The Talent House is set in a refurbished Victorian warehouse with modern extension. - Credit: Ben Stanley / ELD

A former Victorian warehouse in Stratford has been given a new lease of life as two creative organisations prepare to move in.

The Talent House, set in the refurbished historic building with a modern extension, will become home to East London Dance (ELD) and urban music organisation UD in the autumn.

It is part of the Dane’s Yard creative quarter within the Sugar House Island development by Vastint UK.

An computer generated image of how the large dance studio will look.

A computer-generated image of how the large dance studio will look. - Credit: East London Dance

The former print warehouse turned creative hub on Sugar House Lane was designed by Waugh Thistleton, with internal plans drawn up by award-winning architect Katy Marks from Citizens Design Bureau.

Spanning three floors, The Talent House will provide professional facilities including two dance studios, five music production and recording studios,  a live room and two vocal booths.

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It will also host a large rehearsal and events space and a tech lab for education and training.

A central atrium will function as the main reception and there is also a space for dance jams and informal gigs.

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ELD and UD say they are championing the next generation of artists, entrepreneurs and creative leaders, and the new permanent home will allow the organisations to support more under-represented talent - developing skills, nurturing confidence and helping to build careers.

Chief executive of ELD, Polly Risbridger, said: "We see a world where creative talent is always met with opportunity, no matter where you come from, and post-pandemic this space will be essential to help the creative community to reconnect, recover and renew their creative endeavours.

"The Talent House is a building for the young people and artists of east London and their voices will be at the heart of all of our decision making."

More than 2,100 hours of free access to the building and its facilities will be made available to independent artists in the area every year.

An architect's render of the building atrium at The Talent House.

An architect's render of the building atrium at The Talent House. - Credit: East London Dance

It will be opening to everyone with an interest in expressing themselves through dance and music, from first steps to professional heights.

The Talent House aims to welcome more than 12,000 people every year with "an inspirational public programme", co-curated with young people, artists and the community.

UD director Pamela McCormick said: “We understand that young people need the resources and space to create and explore their potential.

“The Talent House provides just that while UD continues to empower those trying to make it in the music industry to realise they already belong, while equipping those who are breaking through into notoriously competitive creative environments with the tools they need:  excellence, structure, confidence, opportunity and networks."

A CGI of the offices at The Talent House

How the offices at The Talent House might look. - Credit: East London Dance

The project has received funding from Newham Council as well as Arts Council England, Foundation for Future London and others, with ELD and UD continuing to fundraise the final £350,000 needed to reach a £4.1m target.

Newham Council chief executive Althea Loderick said: “In providing educational and vocational opportunities to the young people of our borough, this exciting and ambitious new venture will inspire new generations of entrants into the creative industries.

"It has been an extremely challenging year for the arts, of course, so The Talent House represents shining new hope for the future.”

The Talent House at 3 Sugar House Lane.

The Talent House at 3 Sugar House Lane. - Credit: Vastint UK

The original warehouse was used by a printing ink manufacturer for more than 150 years until 2005. 

It is one of three original, historic buildings retained and restored within Dane’s Yard, which is made up of eight buildings that provide creative workspace.

Vastint UK managing director Andrew Cobden said: “One of the many aspirations for Sugar House Island is to express its industrial heritage in the architecture of the buildings and spaces we create. 

“The repurposing of the old warehouse, fused with a new extension, has successfully created a place of learning to inspire young creative minds.” 

When complete, the Sugar House Island mixed-use development will feature offices to support more than 3,000 visitors and 1,200 riverside homes for another 3,000 residents. 

It will include a mix of bars, restaurants, shops and amenities, along with a new primary called School360 opening in September

Vastint UK says the first two phases of the development are complete, with 211 homes now set to be launched and construction of almost 24,000 m2 of workspace underway.

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