Work to start on outdoor theatre

ARTIST'S IMPRESSION: The 40 feet Star Disc is being created by artist and Wirksworth resident Aidan Shingler at Stoney Wood.
ARTIST'S IMPRESSION: The 40 feet Star Disc is being created by artist and Wirksworth resident Aidan Shingler at Stoney Wood.

Work is set to begin on creating a landmark amphitheatre in the Dales.

The £135,000 project will see an outdoor performing arts venue built at Stoney Wood, in Wirksworth – to promote open-air entertainment for the county.

Artist and Wirksworth resident Aidan Shingler, who is leading the project, has drawn up designs for the 40ft Star Disc and funding has been secured.

Plans include a giant star chart that mirrors the northern hemisphere night sky, carved into black granite, surrounded by 12 stone seats representing the 12 months of the year .

Aidan hopes the disc will be used by the area’s thriving arts community for drama and music productions as well as by schools and astronomical groups.

He said: “We are delighted it has all come together. It will be the first one of its kind in the world.

“We hope it will be a long term community enterprise for generations to come.”

He added: “Part of the Star Disc’s function is to encourage visitors in to Wirksworth and enrich the cultural life of the town.”

Mr Shingler hoped the venue would also attract international artists in the future.

The project is being run in conjunction with Wirksworth Town Council and The Stoney Wood Group.

The disc is set to be sited in the Community Woodland, a reclaimed quarry donated by Tarmac to the council.

Mayor Andy Pollock said: “The ground work has already started and we are aiming to launch it at this year’s festival in September.

“We have supported it from the beginning. It will be a great addition to the town. It is going to be so spectacular and will pull people in from all over the county. It will be there to be used and we will be able to hold performance as well as theatre and live music.”

The project has received funding from Arts Council England, the Big Lottery, the district and town councils and residents.