Dugdale reopens after two-year closure

Arts centre has undergone major refurbishment, having previously been used as an NHS vaccination hub earlier in the pandemic

Reggae Choir performed as part of a celebration event on the eve of the Dugdale's reopening (credit Natalie Gee)
Reggae Choir performed as part of a celebration event on the eve of the Dugdale’s reopening (credit Natalie Gee)

Enfield Town’s main arts and culture hub has been reopened for the first time in two years following a major refurbishment.

Enfield Council has spent around £1.5million revamping Dugdale Arts Centre in Cecil Road, creating more space for events to be held in addition to the main 150-seat auditorium. Enfield Museum has also returned, as well as the EnFood Cafe which will now be open on Friday and Saturday nights alongside regular entertainment offerings.

The refurbishment is not yet fully complete, as a new mezzanine level is still to be opened and the relocated entrance has yet to be fitted with its new door, but today’s reopening has allowed the venue to go ahead with its planned series of Christmas shows – starting with the first performance of the Broadway musical Little Women this evening (Friday 16th).

Little Women runs until 7th January, while Chickenshed’s popular Tales from the Shed will also be showing at the Dugdale between Saturday 17th and Friday 30th December.

Enfield Museum’s new space includes a permanent display of historic artefacts such as a Roman coffin discovered in Bush Hill Park in 1908 and a set of woolly mammoth bones found in Tatem Park in 1909. A temporary exhibition space for the museum is now located in the central part of the Dugdale and is currently displaying some of the work funded as part of the council’s recent ‘Stories of Enfield’ heritage project.

A celebration event to mark the reopening of the Dugdale was held last night (Thursday) and featured local poets, musicians, artists and young performers from local theatre groups.

  • The revamped Dugdale boasts an outdoor seating area
  • The cafe/restaurant run by EnFood
  • An additional seating area near the entrance to the Dugdale
  • A new performance space created in addition to the main theatre
  • The new Enfield Museum space features a range of historic artefacts from the local area
  • Mammoth bones discovered in Tatem Park now feature prominently at the Dugdale
  • The temporary exhibition space for Enfield Museum is currently showcasing work created as part of the council's 'Stories of Enfield' project

A council spokesperson said: “Dugdale Arts Centre is a cultural hub for the borough of Enfield offering top-level theatre, an amazing museum, arts and crafts workshops, poetry, music and an award-winning café-restaurant serving locally sourced and sustainable food.

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“We invite visitors to see, do, learn, connect and enjoy. Everyone is welcome, whether watching a show or watching the world go by, making a masterpiece or a bit of a mess. We are proud to host a wide range of community gatherings including breastfeeding mums, knit and natter sessions and poetry collectives.”

The Dugdale’s refurbishment has not been without controversy, however. There had been anger around the removal of the dedicated space for Enfield Local Studies Library and Archives, which is now instead split between two different sites at Enfield Civic Centre and Ridge Avenue Library. In place of the former archives on the first floor, as well as several rooms that had previously been available to hire by the community, the council has created additional office space for its staff.

The final elements of the Dugdale’s refurbishment will be completed in the new year.

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