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Friday, 30 July 2021
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Birketts advises physical theatre company Gecko on charity registration and premises lease

REGIONAL law firm, Birketts, has provided support to internationally acclaimed physical theatre company, Gecko, assisting with the registration of the company as a charity as well as the lease of its new premises, the Gecko Creation Space.

Suffolk-based Gecko is an award-winning physical theatre company led by Artistic Director Amit Lahav. Founded in 2001, the company has created seven critically acclaimed shows, two associate shows and two films. The company is currently creating its eighth theatre production, commissioned by the National Theatre, which focuses on the themes of migration, racism, home and family. In addition to artistic performances, Gecko delivers educational workshops to children in schools and young people in colleges and universities across the UK.

Birketts’ team was led by Head of Charities, Liz Brownsell, with support from Sinead Corcoran (Charities) and Carole Fenwick (Paralegal). Senior Associate Louisa Saunders (Commercial Property) dealt with the leasing of the new premises.

In this exciting project, Liz worked closely with the leadership team at Gecko to provide guidance regarding the legal requirements for attaining charitable status before applying to the Charity Commission to register the company as a charity. As a result, charitable registration was confirmed on 6 April 2021.

In parallel, Louisa Saunders advised on the lease of a property on the waterfront in Ipswich, which will become the Gecko Creation Space, an industry significant devising and rehearsal studio, and the company’s HQ. The project will see an unloved warehouse transformed into a technical creation space for performance and dance. Part of a wider scheme to redevelop the buildings on St Peter’s Dock, it will transform Gecko’s creative process and participation opportunities, with training and creative engagement key components. The space is due to open in 2022, with Gecko currently Crowdfunding to support the completion of the project.

Liz Brownsell commented:

“We began working with Gecko over a year ago, and it has been a delight to see everything come together. In light of the impact of the pandemic, artistic outlets are more important than ever for community wellbeing, and Birketts was very pleased to be involved with a visionary project like this one. I have no doubt the presence of the Creation Space will play a vital part in growing the region’s cultural offering as well as bringing new visitors to the waterfront.”

Gecko’s Head of Operations and Development, Steve Allman, commented:

“We very much enjoyed working with Liz Brownsell and the specialist Birketts’ team. Their friendly, pragmatic, knowledgeable and responsive approach kept the process moving along swiftly and helped us to achieve our goals. Gecko is proud to have attained charitable status, and this will have a huge impact on how we engage and support our local community, young people and artists, and we look forward to continuing to promote the importance of the arts and arts education in the East of England and beyond.”

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