Arts centre set for former St Albans bookshop site

PUBLISHED: 08:02 18 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 May 2010

A FORMER city centre book shop is to be transformed into a community arts venue by one of the county s leading theatre companies. The former Paton Books store on Holywell Hill, which was vacated more than two years ago, will become the new home of the the

A FORMER city centre book shop is to be transformed into a community arts venue by one of the county's leading theatre companies.

The former Paton Books store on Holywell Hill, which was vacated more than two years ago, will become the new home of the theatre company OVO.

The Grade II listed premises on the corner of Sumpter Yard was occupied by the book store for more than 40 years before closing in June 2007.

At the time of the closure, store managers Richard and Josie Child said they could no longer compete in today's competitive marketplace due mainly to the boom in book sales on the internet.

The couple had taken over the store in 1985 from its original owner, Catherine Paton.

The venue, owned by St Albans Abbey, will now be known under the name of OVO @ Sumpter Yard.

OVO's artistic director, Adam Nichols, told the Herts Advertiser this week: "Since we started in 2002, OVO has led a nomadic existence.

"We've touted our theatrical wares at over a dozen different theatres - all over Herts and further afield in London, Edinburgh and Stratford-upon-Avon.

"Whilst we've had fun on our travels, we've also had a long held ambition to find a place we can call home, and we are delighted to be in a position to realise this ambition."

Abbey administrator Justin Cross said: "The Abbey has always been a champion of the arts in the city.

"We are delighted to be supporting OVO with this exciting initiative.

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