OTLEY Courthouse's new Centre Manager has sketched out his hopes for the venue.

Steve Manthorp actually took on the role in the summer, after former manager Rachael Savage left for a new position at Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds.

Formerly the Co-ordinator of Yorkshire and Humber Visual Arts, he has been a visual artist all his adult life, starting off as a woodcarver.

Mr Manthorp's first job was as curator of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and his other roles have included exhibitions officer at Bradford's Cartwright Hall and media arts officer at the Arts Council.

Speaking in Otley Courthouse's Volunteer Newsletter, he said: "My artistic practice has changed dramatically over the years so now I tend to work mostly digitally, making video projections, computer games and interactive

performances - recently projecting a 13m railway bridge and driving a steam train through the screen!

"My ambitions include expanding the Courthouse* to include a larger performance space and a dedicated gallery space.

"I also want to explore new avenues in the programme - whilst not losing our great reputation in music, theatre and talks - and at bringing some production in-house through artistic residencies and, perhaps, even a permanently

resident theatre company."

*The Courthouse's Chairman, Dave Robson, told Otley Town Council in January that the venue, which regularly sells out shows, needed to expand to incorporate a larger auditorium if it was to grow.

The Courthouse hopes to build onto land behind its current building if it can reach an agreement with landowners Leeds City Council.