Ely Standard Column: 'Viva' the Arts!

French author, Andre Maurois said, “Art is an effort to create, beside the real world, a more humane world.”  The Arts are important in so many ways.

The proposal by Viva Arts to create an arts and community centre in Soham is great on so many levels.  It is a project that seeks to reinforce community and encourage people to come together in a creative environment.

Drama therapy and music therapy have been around for a long time and are used to help those with both physical and mental struggles. It is therefore no surprise that acting and singing deliver a host of physical and emotional benefits. These activities do not discriminate on grounds of age, race, disability or gender but rather bring people together in the best possible way.

With support from East Cambridgeshire District Council and others Viva Arts are well on their way to raising the funds they need to transform a disused mill into a vibrant arts and community centre in Soham. I wish them every luck in their endeavours to raise the remaining funds.

Having seen a number of their outstanding productions and the amazing talent of so many local residents I think Viva offers an amazing opportunity to so many people in the area. Following on from their recent revival of My Fair Lady we can look forward to their next production, 'Goodnight Mister Tom', at the end of October.

As well as improving wellbeing, an arts and community centre of this sort will also go some way to addressing other rising concerns around loneliness and anti-social behaviour by providing positive activities for both older and younger members of our community.

This is an inspiring initiative - such initiatives should be encouraged and nurtured for the wellbeing of society as a whole.