James Winter - Queen Street Studio
Theatre director & co-founder of Queen Street Studio
A few years ago, James Winter noticed how difficult it was for artists and performers in Sydney to find vacant, affordable studios to work in, which meant many artists were being squeezed out of the city.
To solve the problem, James Winter got together with his friend, choreographer Sam Chester, to open Queen Street Studio – an affordable warehouse space where local artists can work in exchange for a small membership fee.
“Both Sam and I are working artists, yet we always struggled to find space to practice,” says Winter, explaining the genesis of Queen Street Studio in 2005.
“Quite often I would hold auditions in my lounge room, which was inappropriate,” says Winter, who is also the founder of Brand X Theatre and artistic director of Ashfield Youth Theatre.
In 2009, Queen Street Studio began managing FraserStudios - three warehouses on Kensington Street at Central Park - which are owned and supported by Frasers Property.
At any given time we have ten or 12 groups of visual artists working here on three-month turnarounds,” Winter says. “In the performing arts area, we offer 10 residencies per year through a performance residency programme supported by Arts NSW and the City of Sydney. We have a strong membership base and a strong sense of loyalty.
Thanks to the injection of much-needed space at FraserStudios, Queen Street Studio is helping to strengthen the creative community in Chippendale.
“This is the first time a developer has initiated a project like this by giving free space to artists in a building that would otherwise be left unused. I think the Central Park development is going to inject a massive amount of energy to this area, which is really exciting,” says Winter.