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A celebration of Liz Moreton

Thu 18 May 2023

Blog – a tribute to Liz as she leaves Battersea Arts Centre as Director of Creativity and Social Change

Dearest amazing Liz, 

I’m trying to get your leaving celebration at Battersea Arts Centre but I am sitting on a stationary train in Taunton because there’s a major points failure at Slough. The trains are another piece of crumbling infrastructure, I’m fully expecting the train carriage to be filled with raw sewage at any moment. 

I feel so cheated not to spend just a few more minutes with you in one our very favourite buildings in the world. And to see so many kind and familiar faces who we both spent many years with in Battersea. I so wanted to congratulate you on your incredible and often breath-taking contribution to the cultural sector in the UK. And the truth is that you’ve only just started…

Sitting here, still waiting to be drowned in sewage, I have been thinking about your work – and what an inspiration you have been to so many people, including me. It is quite incredible when I think about the things you have led or created from scratch in Battersea. 

The Beatbox Academy; an evolution of all Battersea’s programmes for young people; the Rio Occupation of 30 Brazilian artists camped out all over Battersea Arts Centre in summer 2012; bringing The Agency from Brazil to Battersea and growing it around the UK; launching the Agents of Creative Change programme; the first ever scale-up of a true Battersea-grown company for the Grand Hall with Little Bulb’s Orpheus; and a similar feat with other company’s like Paper Cinema; forming and developing the Co-Creating Change network and Moving Roots networks; supporting the development of Frankenstein; the shaping and development of the Scratch Hub…and no doubt many, many more things since I left Lavender Hill in 2019. 

What’s incredible about this list is that it’s not just a bunch of amazing successes – because when I stop and think about each one of your achievements Liz (which I literally am on this bloody train) there’s something that connects all of them. All of your achievements are, in one way or another, kind of impossible. Things that probably shouldn’t have worked, didn’t have a template or that broke the mould.

It’s also impossible for me to think of another producer who could have created and led on such an incredibly diverse set of ideas. You have something unique Liz. You have a special energy to pull off the unlikely and the impossible. You have an uncanny ability to take people on a journey which, without you, they would never have considered as possible.

Each of the projects I mention has made a profound contribution to the development of artists – or to members of the Battersea community – or to the old Town Hall building – or to the organisation – or the cultural sector – or to all of these at the same time! You’re amazing Liz. Congratulations on everything you have achieved at Battersea Arts Centre.

I also want to say a personal thank you, from me to you. When I first started out at Battersea Arts Centre, as an artistic director, I found it very difficult. People were so friendly and kind but it was also, how can I say, quite a stiff and serious place. And I couldn’t find a way to change that. I just contributed to it. I genuinely didn’t think I’d make a go of it because I didn’t feel like I could change it. 

In those very early days, you helped me out as my assistant for a few months. I know you have said to me a few times that you didn’t feel you were very good at it. But Liz, believe me, you saved me. You showed me that working at Battersea could be a laugh, could be inspiring, and that we could CHANGE the way things happened. I am so happy I had those months working with you, you as my producer for a short period of time. Because I got to experience what so many hundreds and hundreds of others have experienced in Battersea. Your gift for making change seem possible, seem plausible, seem essential. I owe you a huge amount, personally, for your influence on me, for helping me believe I could change things.

Battersea Arts Centre owes you a huge debt for the way you have led positive social and cultural change through your leadership. You are truly one of a kind. Love you lots and miss you lots. I very much look forward to seeing what you do next. In the words of Yvette Pépin from Orpheus – Encore Encore! 

Categories: My FAVOURITES Role of PRODUCER and/or artistic director

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