We have found our new home in Hastings on the south coast of England and we need your help to raise £20,000 to get our new space underway so we can venture into the next chapter of Cabaret Mechanical Theatre’s 40 year history. Please visit the Crowdfunder Campaign Page to support us via a donation or pledge for one of our fantastic rewards.
We’re also thrilled to announce that our new patron will be writer Anthony Horowitz. Anthony is a passionate automata collector and a huge supporter of our work with young people. The seaside town of Hastings is close to Anthony’s heart, it is where he spent 16 years filming the TV series Foyles War.
Tim Hunkin is our Chief Engineer – he will help us to inspire young people to engage in engineering with his unique and unconventional perspective on the importance of engineering today.
The Mechanical Making Space
We will showcase exhibits from our collection and have special events, talks with our artists and automata colleagues from around the world. We will have our Automata Repair Shop where our touring exhibits will be repaired and restored. Importantly we will be sharing our automata making skills and knowledge with our community to inspire engineers and makers of the future.
We are ready to launch our new space by collaborating with five exceptional partners:
A Town Explores A Book Festival atownexploresabook.com
We will continue our collaboration with the St Leonards on Sea children’s annual literature festival running automata making workshops with 3,000 school children. The Festival is exploring the relationship between reading, writing, art activities and fun with the heritage novel The Railway Children by E Nesbit as part of the Festival in April 2024.
Science Projects science-projects.org
We will continue our partnership with the charity Science Projects & Director scientist Steve Pizzey to set up a regular Space Club to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) with local children between 5-16 years with automata making
East Sussex College Hastings escg.ac.uk
Engineering students & engineering lecturer Peter Wheeler. The Mechanical Making Space will house our Automata Repair Shop where exhibits from our touring exhibitions are repaired and restored. We will offer work experience and develop design briefs with their engineering students.
Engineered Arts engineeredarts.co.uk
Engineered Arts is the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of humanoid entertainment robots. They will support us with the dissemination of engineering skills to encourage young people to access careers in engineering.
Hastings Commons hastingscommons.com
The Mechanical Making Space will be based at Rock House, part of Hastings Commons, a mixed-use community hub with a pioneering approach to community-led regeneration and a growing focus on spaces for young people. Being located within a community hub for young people we will offer free and low cost workshops, events and exhibitions.
Transition to a Community Interest Company (CIC)
To make this possible we have set up Cabaret Mechanical Theatre Learning CIC so we will be able to apply for additional funding to run low cost and free community workshops. Plus any profit from our touring exhibitions and retail sales will be reinvested into the CIC.
The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre team has grown and we have set up a fantastic board of Directors to help us with the exciting developments.
What will happen in the space?
In the new Mechanical Making Space and CMT HQ we will continue to do what we do best, plus more community workshops and exhibitions.
The Collection & Archive
We will bring together our collection of over 160 automata together with iconic items from the archive. We have hundreds of original artworks that bring back to life the memories of the legendary shop in Covent Garden and the early days of Falmouth where the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre began. These important artefacts and exhibits are carefully curated for our touring exhibitions worldwide.
Automata Repair Shop
Some of our automata are over 40 years old and are activated by thousands of visitors every year. Our skilled technicians need a space to maintain and repair the automata ready for our exhibitions that tour the UK and the world.
Workshop & Events
We will run a varied programme of workshops in the Mechanical Making Space for the community and specialist workshops for makers, educators and automata enthusiasts. We will run events, talks, screenings and exhibitions within other spaces that are part of Hastings Commons such as the beautifully renovated Observer Building and Rose Cottage Studios a few metres from Rock House.
Online Shop & Workshop Materials
To support our income we need a space to prepare our retail products such as original automata, books and prints as well as pack up kits for our online workshops that we run throughout the year. These are shipped all over the world.
Workshop Facilitators & Training Opportunities
Through online and in person workshops we provide opportunities for makers and educators to join our international team to deliver our automata making programme.
To make all this happen we also need a small office space.
The new Mechanical Making Space will be ideally located within a bustling area less than 10 minutes walk from Hastings Railway Station, the beach and Hastings Pier. There are also plenty of independent cake and coffee shops for all of our coming visitors.
Meet the team:
Sarah Alexander – Co Director.
Lisa Finch – Co Director
Max Alexander – Technician, retail & social media
Gary Alexander – Photography, film & general geekery
Patrick Bond – Automata technician
Stephen Guy Fire the Inventor
Ryan Jenkins wonderfulidea.co
Celeste Moreno Celeste Moreno Design
Loulou Cousin Instagram
Jake Fee Jake Fee
Becca Rose beccarose.co.uk
Board of Advisors:
Ben Davidson Rodic Davidson Architects
Henrietta Boex, Curator & Arts Consultant
Michael Start – Horologist & Director of House of Automata
Patron: Anthony Horowitz – Writer and screenwriter
Chief Engineer: Tim Hunkin – Engineer & cartoonist
How The Money Will be Spent
The space is an empty shell so we need to kit it out to make the best use of every corner. This will include a mechanical window display so there is always something to see.
Crowdfunder target: £20,000
Match funding: £5,000 – We will receive match funding from the East Sussex Council Community Wellbeing Fund when we hit their targets.
Stretch target: £5,000 towards our first 6 months running costs
We keep what we make
If we don’t reach our target by 2nd August we will not be able to move into the new Mechanical Making Space in Hastings Commons.
However, with the funds that we do raise we will run a programme of pop-up and community workshops in Hastings starting in September 2023. We will continue to fundraise to make the move to a new space.
Please visit the Crowdfunder Campaign Page to support us via a donation or pledge for one of our fantastic rewards. We’d love it if you could share this campaign with your friends and spread the word about our new Mechanical Making Space.